Short Term Rental Licences

New bylaws to regulate short-term rentals (STRs) in Squamish are now in effect. Under the new rules, a principal resident can legally rent their principal residence for periods of less than 30 days. Our STR regulations help protect long-term rental housing and allow residents to earn additional income.

All STR operators in Squamish must have a business licence and include their licence number in all online listings and advertising, or they may be subject to fines up to $500 per offence.

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How to apply for a STR business licence

  • Business Licence step-by-step guide

    Step 1: Check to see if you’re eligible for a licence (see Eligibility section below)

    A STR business licence can only be issued to a person, for the property where they reside. A person may only have one principal residence and one STR business licence.

    Step 2: Confirm you meet safety requirements (see Fire and Safety Requirements under Eligibility section below)

    Step 3: Get permission from the owner and/or strata

    If you are a tenant and/or live in a strata, you are required to have permission for STR of your home before you apply for a licence. If you are a tenant, the owner's permission is required (submit an owner consent form). If you live in a strata property, your strata bylaws must permit the use of STRs and you must have strata authorization to operate a STR in the building (submit a strata consent form).

    Step 4: Review the STR bylaws, listing and advertising rules

    Follow all applicable STR bylaws:

    Make sure that guests don't disturb the peace and quiet of neighbours; read the Good Neighbour Guidelines. Make sure that guests park their vehicles on your property or on the street where allowed. Read the street parking regulations.

    Step 5: Review fees and apply for a licence

    Fees:

    • Monthly Shared or Private Rooms $50
    • Annual Shared or Private Rooms $300
    • Monthly Entire Dwelling $150
    • Annual Entire Dwelling $900
    • Annual Non-Principal Residence Unit (if you are successfully issued a TUP) $3,000

    Apply: Complete and submit the following forms and documents:

    Applications are accepted in person or via email businesslicence@squamish.ca.

    Business Licence phone 604.815.5014 if you have questions related to applying for a business licence.

    STR operators are required to renew their licence annually (or monthly if applicable) and ensure all documentation is accurate and up to date for each new year.

  • Eligibility

    Is your home eligible to have a STR?

    Your home is eligible if:

    • you are an individual (not a business or corporation)
    • the home you want to rent is your principal residence (the residential address and specific unit where you live and use for bills, ID, taxes and insurance)
    • if you are a renter, you will need the owner’s permission to short-term rent
    • if you live in a strata building or complex, you will need to check to make sure your strata bylaws allow STRs and you will need your strata council’s permission to short-term rent
    • note that you can STR an entire dwelling unit (single family, duplex, townhouse or apartment unit) or shared or private room(s) within the unit, as long as the unit is your principal residence

    Your home is not eligible if:

    • you are a business, company, corporation, society or commercial operation
    • the home you want to rent is not your principal residence (if it is a second home, vacation home, investment unit, secondary suite, coach house or accessory dwelling unit)

    Property managers are required to get a property management business licence to market and manage the unit on behalf of the STR operator.

    Parking

    If your home is a single family or duplex unit, then 1 additional parking space is required for every 2 STR bedrooms, to a maximum of 3 additional spaces. Note these are additional spaces, beyond the spaces required for the residential use (which are normally 2 spaces per dwelling unit).

    If your home is in a strata complex (townhouse or apartment unit), then no additional spaces are required.

    An example of an acceptable parking plan could be an aerial photo or sketched site plan showing all on-site parking spaces delineated and dimensioned. 

    STR Listing

    Clearly indicate your licence number for your STR accommodation in all your rental advertisements or listings (such as in the description section of your Airbnb listing). Post a visible paper copy of your licence in your STR accommodation unit.

    Fire and Safety Requirements

    Your STR accommodation must have appropriate safety measures in place to protect guests in the event of an emergency. The following requirements must be met:

    • Provide an emergency contact name and number to all guests and have the contact information posted in the unit
    • Post the contact information for Emergency 911 and non-emergency contact information for District of Squamish Bylaw Enforcement, Squamish RCMP and Squamish Fire Rescue in the unit
    • Post a fire safety plan (see next section) at all entrances and exits
    • Have smoke alarms on every floor and in every bedroom
    • Have a working and accessible fire extinguisher on every floor
    • Have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor if there are gas appliances
    • Maintain, inspect and test smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors annually and keep records of the inspections and tests

    Fire Safety Plan

    You are required to post a fire safety plan at all entrances and exits. The fire safety plan should include the following information:

    • Operator’s name
    • Address of the property
    • Emergency contact (name and number of the responsible person who is locally available 24/7 to address immediate concerns)
    • Emergency 911 info
    • Designated meeting point
    • Location of fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
    • Location of window exits of code-approved size

    For guidance on how to do a fire safety plan, check out how to make a fire safety plan, or this example from the City of Kelowna.

Temporary Use Permits for STR of Non-Principal Residences (Suites and Accessory Dwelling)

  • STR Temporary Use Permit Applications: Open January 25, 2021 – Close February 14, 2021

    The District of Squamish will be issuing up to thirty (30) STR Temporary Use Permits (TUPs) for STR use of Secondary Suites or Accessory Dwellings. TUPs will allow for non-principal residences such as a suite or coach house to be short-term rented on a temporary basis (initial 2 year term) and are intended to support tourism while protecting rental housing stock in the community.

    Read the STR Interim TUP Policy to learn more about eligibility, and how the TUP applications will be evaluated and processed.

  • TUP application step-by-step guide

    Step 1: Check to see if you’re eligible to apply for TUP

    Is your home eligible to have an STR TUP?

    Your home is eligible if:

    • you are an individual (not a business or corporation)
    • you live full time (minimum of 9 months a year) on the property, either in the principal residence or in the suite or coach house.
    • only 1 STR will operate on the property (i.e. you cannot STR more than 1 unit on the property)
    • there is no Residential Child Care Facility operating on the property

    Your home is not eligible if:

    • your suite or coach house is not a legal, permitted unit (i.e. if the suite was built or installed without a building permit)
    • you are a business, company, corporation, society or commercial operation
    • you do not live full time on the property (i.e. if the property is a second home, vacation home or investment unit)

    Step 2: Confirm that you would also meet the requirements to get a business licence (see above on how to apply for a STR business licence)

    Step 3: Review fees and apply for a TUP

    Fees:  

    • $1000 for delegated TUPs (for STR units under 2,000sqft)
    • $1200 for non-delegated TUPs (over 2,000sqft)

    Note that the TUP application fee is non-refundable once an application is short-listed in the review process. If the TUP application is successful, a Business Licence will be required and is an additional fee.

    Apply: Complete and submit the following forms:

    Email your completed TUP application form and applicable supporting documents to planning@squamish.ca or drop-off in-person at Municipal Hall. Applications will be accepted starting January 25th 2021 (12:00AM) until February 14th, 2021 (11:59 PM). Early applicants prior to January 25th will be asked to re-submit on January 25th, as all applications are date/time stamped in order of receipt. Applicants will receive confirmation of receipt and contacted with payment options. Fee payment can be made over the phone or in-person.

    If you have any questions related to applying for an STR TUP, please call the Planning department at 604.815.5002

    If your TUP application is approved and you are issued a TUP, the next step is to apply for your non-principal residence STR business licence. See the section on How to apply for a STR business licence.

    Once the two (2) year term of the TUP has lapsed, TUP renewal will be subject to Council discretion with staff conducting an evaluation of the overall interim TUP Policy and STR Program in 2022.

Compliance

  • Active Enforcement (Starting April 1, 2021)

    The District will be pursuing active enforcement (District led) of the STR regulations starting on April 1, 2021 to ensure STR operators comply with rules and regulations. Operators may face fines of $500 per day, per offence, and significantly higher amounts if compliance efforts require escalation.   

  • Complaint-driven Enforcement (Ongoing)

    Prior to starting active enforcement on April 1, 2020, the District will follow up on complaints received from the public through phone or via the online form: Bylaw Complaint Page

    If you're aware of a STR business operating without a licence, or would like to submit an STR related complaint, contact Bylaw Enforcement at 604.815.5067.

  • Example Offences
    • Operating without a valid business licence
    • Listing or advertising without a valid business licence
    • Listing or advertising without displaying a valid business licence in the listing
    • Operating a STR in a home that is not your principal residence
    • Operating in an unsafe way or not following the fire and safety requirements

    Operators with repeat offences may be subject to escalating prosecution.

  • Inspection

    Your STR unit may be inspected after you get your business licence. Upon request, please provide access to your unit for the District to inspect. The District may also audit your licence and request evidence that supports the information in your licence application.

    Operators should understand that the District may:

    • Audit STR business licences and all required documentation
    • Request evidence that supports the information in a licence application
    • Request records showing fire safety inspections and safety maintenance
  • Information for Guests

    District bylaws ensure our community is a safe and enjoyable place for residents and visitors. Please ensure your guests are aware of the following rules, as well as any other rules set by your strata, if applicable.

    Noise: Because many STR properties are near other residential homes, please ensure your guests are considerate of the public and their neighbours at all times of day. View the Good Neighbour Guidelines to learn more.

    Parking: Ensure your guests know where they can and cannot park. Guests must have access to the designated STR unit parking spaces. Inform guests of any applicable on-street parking regulations.

    Dogs: Guests must always control their dogs and keep them on a leash when outside. Guests must also pick up after their dog.

    Garbage, recycling and organics collection: Ensure guests understand what waste and recycling goes where. View the Waste Diversion page and our what goes where guide, and proactively encourage proper recycling and sorting of waste and organics. Reduce potential for bear and wildlife conflicts by ensuring your totes are securely locked and stored inside a shed or garage if possible.

Key Contacts

Resources and Background Information