Short Term Rentals

September 2018

Like many BC municipalities, the District of Squamish is undertaking a zoning and business regulation review to develop options for short-term rentals. Designing an approach for Squamish will involve extensive engagement with the community to determine how best to address the opportunities and challenges presented by short-term rentals.

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 $1Million, and have nearly doubled in the last 5 years; townhomes and apartment prices increased 16% and 32%, respectively, in the last year. A zero 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 Short-Term Rental Conversation

The District of Squamish is developing a comprehensive engagement program which will be initiated with a community-wide survey in early Fall 2018. A Short-Term Rental policy backgrounder is under preparation and will be made available as a community conversation starter to inform discussion and policy and regulatory options. Stay tuned for more information: Sign up for E-News updates here.

Staff Contacts

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

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

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