Short-Term Rentals FAQ

These Frequently Asked Questions are based on the new Short-Term Rental regulations now in effect.

 

  1. What are Short-Term Rentals?
    • Short-Term Rentals are units available for rent for less than 30 days at a time. These include vacation rentals listed on online platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner).
  2. Where are Short-Term Rentals permitted?
    • Short-Term Rentals are permitted in all residential areas within Squamish, subject to meeting the Short-Term Rental requirements (business licence, safety and fire requirements, parking, etc.).
    • Short-Term Rentals are permitted in principal residences only. These can be shared or private bedrooms or an entire dwelling unit.
    • Short-Term Rentals are not permitted in secondary suites, coach houses, accessory buildings (such as garages and studio spaces), recreational vehicles, or any other structure or shelter that is not a dwelling unit.
  3. Do I need a business licence to operate a Short-Term Rental?
    • A District of Squamish business licence is required to operate a Short-Term Rental unit. 
  4. What are the business licence fees to operate a Short-Term Rental?
    • The business licence fee varies depending on the Short-Term Rental type: Monthly Licence for Shared or Private Room(s): $50.00; Annual Licence for Shared or Private Room(s): $300.00; Monthly Licence for Entire Dwelling Unit: $150.00; Annual Licence for Entire Dwelling Unit: $900.00
  5. What is a principal residence?
    • A principal residence is defined as the dwelling unit where a person lives for a minimum of five months in a calendar year and conducts daily affairs (such as paying bills and receiving mail).
  6. I own and live in my home (in the main portion). Could my secondary suite or coach house be used as a Short-Term Rental?
    • Short-Term Rentals are not permitted in secondary suites or coach houses; however, the District is creating a parallel STR Temporary Use Permit (TUP) process to legitimize up to 30 non-principal residence STRs for 2021 for residents who want to STR their suite or coach house dwelling unit. Details on the TUP application process, fees and processing timeline will be posted to the District’s STR page. 
  7. Why are secondary suites and coach houses prohibited from use as Short-Term Rentals?
    • Secondary suites and coach houses are prohibited from use as STRs as a precautionary measure to preserve and maintain Squamish’s existing long-term rental supply. This prohibition will be reviewed in future evaluation of the regulations as Squamish’s housing needs change.
  8. Previous to the new Short-Term Rental regulations, were Short-Term Rentals permitted in Squamish?
    • Only Bed and Breakfasts were permitted under the old regulations, which is defined as the use of a dwelling unit for temporary lodging of paying guests, limited to a maximum of 2 bedrooms and common areas, including a dining room. No other types of Short-Term Rentals were permitted.
    • Note that the definition Short-Term Rental was added to the Zoning Bylaw (Bylaw 2582, 2018) to ensure that the old regulations were clear. This was accomplished by providing explicit direction that secondary suites, accessory dwelling units and multi-unit flex units are not permitted for use as a Short-Term Rental; this change did not mean that short-term rentals were permitted previous to the change. Residential use has and continues to be a distinct use in the zoning bylaw, materially different from rental accommodation available through B&B, tourist accommodation, hotels, hostels etc.
  9. Can my principal dwelling be licensed as a Short-Term Rental, even if I have a secondary suite?
    • Yes, if the dwelling is your principal residence, subject to meeting all the Short-Term Rental requirements (business licence, safety and fire requirements, etc.).
  10. I rent and live in a secondary suite. Can my suite be licensed as a Short-Term Rental?
    • No, at this time, the Short-Term Rental of secondary suites is not permitted, even if it is a principal residence; however, the District is creating a parallel STR Temporary Use Permit (TUP) process to legitimize up to 30 non-principal residence STRs for 2021 for residents who want to STR their suite or coach house dwelling unit. Details on the TUP application process, fees and processing timeline will be posted to the District’s STR page.
  11. My strata bylaws prohibit Short-Term Rentals. Can my principal residence be licensed as a Short-Term Rental if it meets the District bylaws?
    • No, you must also comply with your strata’s bylaws. Written authorization from the strata council and proof of compliance with strata bylaws is required for business licensing.
  12. To obtain a business license, will the District inspect my property?
    • Two types of inspections are proposed: 1. Operator self-inspection (submission of a self-evaluation safety checklist), as part of the business licence process. 2. Periodic District fire and life-safety inspections, which will be prioritized based on safety complaints and high frequency rentals, so not all Short-Term Rental units will be subject to District inspection.
  13. What is required to pass inspection?
    • Inspection requirements will include, but are not limited to, clear exits, installation of smoke alarms on each floor and in each bedroom, carbon monoxide alarms on each floor (if the rental contains gas appliances), fire extinguishers on each floor, and the posting of a Fire Safety Plan by all exits.
  14. Will the District enforce on non-licensed Short-Term Rental units?
    • Yes. Since the STR Bylaws were adopted in November 2020, a 4-month active enforcement grace period is now in effect. Active enforcement will begin on April 1, 2021. For clarity, complaint-driven enforcement is continuing through this grace period; to report a short-term rental related issue, go to the bylaw complaint page here
  15. Who do I call about an issue with a Short-Term Rental in my neighbourhood?
    • Call the District Bylaw Enforcement Officers at 604-815-5067, or email at bylaw@squamish.ca. Health, safety and environmental impact complaints are prioritized.
  16. If a Short-Term Rental is permitted in a principal residence only, what is the $3000 non-principal residence business license for?
    • The $3,000 Annual Licence for Non-Principal Residence Unit is a placeholder in the fees and charges bylaw for licensing non-principal residences for Short-term Rental where temporary use permits or rezoning applications are approved by Council (on a site specific basis).
  17. I have an existing licensed Bed and Breakfast (B&B). How do the new regulations affect my operation?
    • Bed and Breakfasts, considered a type of Short-Term Rental use, will require licensing under the new Short-term Rental program. They will be subject to the same business licence fee as currently paid ($50/room) and the same water and sewer utility fees. The previous 2-bedroom limit and requirement for common areas (dining room) were removed from the bylaws. The parking requirement was also reduced and is now set at one space for every two bedrooms.
  18. I’m a property manager; do I need to have a Short-Term Rental licence for the properties that I manage?
    • All Short-Term Rental properties require a business licence to operate. A business licence can only be issued to the principal resident who lives at the property. Property management businesses and commercial operations are ineligible for a Short-Term Rental licence. Property management companies are required to get a business licence to manage any unit on behalf of a Short-Term Rental operator (e.g. on behalf of the principal resident).
  19. I have several properties that I’d like to use as Short-Term Rentals in Squamish; can I get one licence for all the properties?
    • Each Short-Term Rental property must have its own licence. A person may only have one Short-Term Rental business licence, for the property where they reside (principal residence).
  20. How much on-site parking do I need to provide for the Short-Term Rental?
    • For rentals in single family homes, you need one space for every two bedrooms (must be additional spaces on top of the spaces required for residents).
    • For rentals in condos, apartments or townhouses, no additional spaces are required.
  21. How many bedrooms are allowed to be rented out?
    • There is no explicit limit on the number of bedrooms, but the maximum number of additional parking spaces that can be added on-site is three, which acts to limit the number of bedrooms to six.
  22. How many guests are allowed at one time?
    • There is no limit on the number of Short-term Rental guests; note that the Short-Term Rental unit must comply with Building and Fire Code occupancy limits.
  23. How many bookings are allowed at one time?
    • There is no limit on the number of bookings allowed at one time (i.e. renting one bedroom out to a guest while renting another bedroom out to another unrelated guest).
  24. How many nights can I short-term rent per year?
    • There is no limit or cap on the number of nights in a year you may short-term rent.

Show All