Short Term Rentals

str


July 2019 Update:

At the June 11 Committee of the Whole meeting, Phase 2 community engagement results were discussed along with a preferred regulatory option for crafting a short-term rental regulatory (STR) framework.

District Council has endorsed Short-Term Rental Regulatory Option C (primary or principal residence requirement) and directed staff to draft bylaw amendments for this option. The selected option does not initially include the short-term rental of secondary suites or accessory dwellings (coach houses) as a precautionary approach, which will be followed by close monitoring and evaluation, so that the regulations can be adapted in the future once the impacts of STR regulation are better understood.

Staff has also been directed to consider the following:

  • Explore incentives for properties that contribute the use of accessory dwelling units (suites and coach houses) to the long term rental supply.
  • Expand or modernize traditional bed and breakfast regulations.
  • Provide a business case for enforcement of STR regulations.

Staff will be preparing bylaw amendments during summer 2019 with the aim to bring forward a draft in early fall for Council consideration. This project webpage will be kept up to date throughout this process, including future date(s) when Council will formally consider the bylaw amendments and public representations respecting the drafted short-term rental bylaws.


The June 11 Council meeting is available for viewing here (select the “Committee of the Whole – June 11, 2019” option from the drop down menu, item 4vi). View the presentation slides here: click to open pdf.

Continue to share your perspectives in the lead up to Council’s formal consideration of a regulatory framework by leaving a comment using the comment field at the bottom of this page, or by emailing the staff contact, Aja Philp.

 

June 2019 Update:

Community engagement results from Phase 2 of the Short-Term Rental Review will be presented to Council on Tuesday, June 11 at approximately 2:45 p.m. during the Committee of the Whole meeting. Staff will provide an update on alternative options for short-term rental regulation, licensing and enforcement, and will seek Council direction on the selection of a preferred regulatory option for future implementation.

This Council workshop is not a Public Hearing. It is an opportunity for Council to discuss the alternative options for short-term regulation presented in Phase 2 and receive the engagement summary. Once a preferred regulatory approach is determined, short-term rental bylaws will be drafted. A formal approvals process will follow, with bylaw readings and opportunity for public comment on the bylaw through the Public Hearing process.

Prior to the formal approvals process, you’re invited to continue providing feedback on short-term rental options by leaving a comment using the comment field at the bottom of this page, or by emailing the staff contact, Aja Philp, at aphilp@squamish.ca or 604.815.4966.

View the June 11 Staff Report to the Committee of the Whole

View the Phase 2 Engagement Summary Report

View the Phase 3 Preferred Option Selection Report

View the May 30 Short-term Rental Notice clarifying current short-term rental regulations within the District

 

April 2019 Update:

Phase 2 engagement activities are underway through May 2019 to consult on three alternative regulatory options for short-term rentals in Squamish: 

View the Phase 2 Alternative Options Summary Package.

Phase 2 Community Open House
Thursday, May 2, 2019 │ 4 to 8 p.m.
Squamish Adventure Centre, 38551 Loggers Lane

Drop in and share your perspectives on three alternative options for short-term rental regulation. Your ongoing input is important to determine a preferred approach for future regulation, licensing and enforcement that meets the needs of our community.


Ways to submit your input:

  • Attend the May 2 Open House
  • Fill out the feedback form attached at the back of the Phase 2 Options Summary Package and email to planning@squamish.ca or drop off at Squamish Municipal Hall

Leave a comment on the Phase 2 Alternative Options using the comment fields at the bottom of this page.


 

January 2019 Update: 

Community engagement results from Phase 1 of the Short-Term Rental Review were presented to Council on Tuesday, January 29 during the Committee of the Whole meeting. Staff will present both the results and insights from the Short-Term Rental community survey conducted in October 2018. 

View the presentation.

Draft alternative regulatory options have been framed for presentation and discussion with Council prior to initiating Phase 2 of the project.

During Phase 2, the District will continue to consult on alternative regulatory options and their implications using a series of stakeholder focus groups as well as a public drop-in session planned for spring 2019. Watch this page for further updates on Short-Term Rental options and materials as part of Phase 2, and details on upcoming public engagement opportunities to participate and share your perspectives on short-term rental regulation in Squamish. 

November 2018 Update:

Thanks to everyone who participated in the short-term rental survey this October. Over 470 responses were received!

We are now entering Stage 2 of the project which will run from November through to the end of January.

District staff are now summarizing and analyzing the results of the survey. Based on a synthesis of the community survey input, community priorities, policy objectives, and a review of best practices and learnings from other local governments experiences, we will formulate options for short-term rental regulation. A document summarizing the survey results, including an outline framing up a number of regulatory options and how they were formulated, will be presented back to community and Council for further engagement in January and February. Opportunities for consultation will include stakeholder focus group sessions as well as community wide pop-ups or open houses.

Stay tuned to this project webpage for upcoming opportunities to continue the STR conversation. 


 

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What are Short-Term Rentals? Are they permitted?

A short-term rental is the use of a dwelling unit, or any portion of it, as a rental unit for a period of less than 30 days and includes vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts (as defined in the District of Squamish Zoning Bylaw 2200, 2011). Currently short-term rentals are permitted in commercial zones as tourist accommodation (Hotels, Hostels, Motels) and on parcels zoned to permit licensed Bed and Breakfasts. For clarity, residential dwellings, Accessory Dwelling Units, Secondary Suites nor Multi-unit Flex Units (within strata-tiled two-unit or townhouse dwellings) are not permitted for use as short-term rentals.

Why regulate Short-Term Rentals?

With a local housing market inextricably connected to Metro Vancouver, Squamish housing costs have continued to rise. Benchmark prices for detached homes have reached $1 million, and have nearly doubled in the last five years; townhomes and apartment prices increased 16% and 32%, respectively, in the last year. A less than one percent rental vacancy rate persists. A growing affordability gap exists in Squamish and can exacerbate issues such as poverty and food insecurity, with particular concern for low- to moderate-income residents and vulnerable populations. These housing challenges are also impacting the community’s ability to provide adequate workforce housing and to attract and retain employees, vital to sustain a vibrant economy.

Considered a basic human right, a range and mix of housing options for residents of all ages, incomes and abilities are urgently needed. A core housing objective is to increase the supply, availability and access to affordable housing across the local housing spectrum/continuum. In 2018 the District adopted policy directing the creation of regulations to address short-term/vacation rentals that reduce the available inventory of rental housing, and to monitor and resource adequate enforcement of unauthorized rentals (Squamish2040 OCP Policy 12.12 f).

Participate in the conversation

The District has launched a community survey and corresponding background information to obtain the community’s perspectives and priorities on this important topic. The survey, open through October 31, 2018, will inform the development of options for discussion with Council and the community.

1. Read the Backgrounder

Read the Short-Term Rental Information Backgrounder to help inform your survey responses.

2. Take the Survey 

The survey closed October 31, 2018.

3. Stay informed

Stay tuned for more information: Sign up for E-News updates here.

 

Staff Contacts

Aja Philp, Planner |  aphilp@squamish.ca | 604.815.4966

Sarah McJannet, Planner| smcjannet@squamish.ca | 604.815.5096

 

Links

Council Documents

Short-Term Rentals Project Launch + Engagement: September 18, 2018 Committee of the Whole Agenda and Meeting Minutes

Short-Term Rentals Monitoring Update: November 7, 2017 Community Development Standing Committee Agenda and Meeting Minutes

 

Affordable Housing

District of Squamish Affordable Housing webpage

Housing Task Force Final Report (2016)

 

Tourism Sector

Squamish Accommodation Snapshot

 

Short-Term Rental Resources

Host Compliance STR Monitoring Company Website

Hotel Association of Canada Article “Developing a Modern Approach to Short-term rentals in a Digital Economy: A Framework for Canadian Regulators”

Province of BC Strata Short-Term Rental Bylaws Resource Page

Airbnb British Columbia Sales Tax and Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) Information

Post your comment

Comments

  • Nicole Ladeur Jul 17, 2019

    I am very disappointed to hear that staff has recommended the most restrictive option to Council with regard to STR (Option C).

    This recommendation is very restrictive and, in my opinion, will have no impact with respect to converting any current STR of legal suites into the LTR pool. Even with the possibility of a small percentage of units that convert from STR to LTR, I highly doubt they will be at an affordable rate which in turns does not solve any rental affordability issues we are currently experiencing in the DOS.

    We recently built a carriage home on our principal residence property for the purpose of having family, friends, etc. stay with us while there are visiting as our principal dwelling residence is a small home with no room for guests. At the time we applied for a building permit there were no STR restrictions in the Bylaws; however, now there are STR restrictions for all accessory dwelling units (which a carriage house is classified). We recently applied for a Business Licence for host a B&B and were turned down because of the accessory dwelling units Bylaw which does not allow STR.

    We will never put our carriage home into the LTR pool because of the size, lack of storage and that we utilize the garage below, which can be noisy at times. We plan to keep it available for friends and family and hope in time we will be able to STR the space periodically.

    We have amply off-street parking for our carriage house and also pay additional utilities to the DOS as we are a legal accessory dwelling; how about we crack down on all the illegal suites we have in the DOS. To me Option C feels like we, as the property owners, are being told what we can and can't do with our properties that we worked hard to purchase and maintain.

    We are more that happy to pay a licencing fee in order to have the ability to B&B or STR our accessory dwelling unit.

    I struggle to understand how Staff only estimates the addition of 1/2 a person will be sufficient to regulate the new STR regime once it is in place; over the years I have been in Squamish (since birth), the DOS has not been able to crack down on illegal suites, parking, etc. due to current personnel work loads and resources. I can assure you that the STR regime will be very time consuming and will most definitely require more that 1/2 a person to oversee and regulate.

    Allowing STR only in a room in a principal dwelling has so many downfalls in the form of safely of the homeowner, visitors not wanting to stay directly with others in a residence. I know that if I were a visitor to Squamish for a short period of time, I would prefer to have my own enclosed unit, similar to a suite or a carriage home during my visit, not sleeping in the room next to the homeowner, otherwise, I may just rent a van and sleep in that (in an approved area, of course).

    Just my thoughts!

  • margaret king Jun 13, 2019

    I am very disappointed to hear that the restrictive option 3 has been chosen by Council.
    I have taken part in the entire process and felt that a moderate form of regulation was the obvious choice. This decision seems heavy handed.
    I have a very small STR in a house I own which helps me make ends meet and stay in this town.
    It will never go into the LTR pool because of it's size and lack of storage and because I use it regularly for friends and family.
    I do not think it is my responsibility to solve Squamish's long term rental problems.
    I have appropriate parking and safety features in my suite and am happy to undergo a safety inspection and pay a licencing fee in order to continue to rent my suite.

  • Brian Michals Jun 11, 2019

    I don’t know much of the economics of the situation, but I believe I have a suitable solution. Please advise if I am ‘out to lunch’. Maybe this idea has been discussed before as well.

    I believe land owners should have the right to do as they please with the land they have saved for and currently reside in. If they choose to do short term rentals to subsidize their home - then they should be taxed a percentage. Let’s say 20 per cent for easy math.

    This money goes towards subsidized units set aside for long term rentals in other developments.

    As Squamish district is becoming more desirable, I assume our personal property tax will inflate. With this, we will pay more for land that we can not profit from or afford. It makes sense that we should all be able to sustain a good living and accommodate room for all levels of income.

    Again, makes sense to me and I welcome any errors in my possible solution.

  • Anonymous Jun 11, 2019

    I’m very disappointed. I chose to invest in a costly Squamish housing market by buying a home with income opportunity. I did this because I want to live and work here long term. The unit that I have isn’t big enough for LTR so it’s not an option for me to place it into that rental pool. I also choose to not LTR because my entire extended family is out of province or country and when visiting, stay for weeks at a time. I wanted space for them to enjoy. I don’t feel that it’s my responsibility as a homeowner to solve the LTR issue in Squamish but am keen to contribute by way of licensing/taxing in order to maintain the right to rent my owned space in a way that works best for my family.

  • Shoshana Kiidumae Apr 25, 2019

    I believe option C should be chosen with caps, per unit for guests. I think accessory units without their own entrance could be used for STRs but not self enclosed units. All units should have to be the primary residence of someone, either tenant or owner. Caps on the number of nights should not be imposed as this limits someone renting a spare room in their house, which should be allowed. I don't think caps on units per neighbourhood make sense, but their could be a removal of license process for problem units.

  • tove redeby Mar 01, 2019

    Hi,
    I was not aware of the survey [that closed Oct 31, 2018]
    Is there any way to add my opinion/comments?

    • Communications Mar 01, 2019

      Hi Tove,
      The next public engagement event is being planned for April and we'll update this page with its date, time and location. Until then, please feel free to share your comments/opinions with our planning staff, Aja Philp at aphilp@squamish.ca and Sarah McJannet at smcjannet@squamish.ca. Thanks!

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