Short-Term Rentals FAQ

These Frequently Asked Questions are based on the proposed new Short-Term Rental regulations currently going through the formal approvals process. A Public Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, September 29 at 6 p.m. – join virtually or in-person to voice your thoughts and comments. *Note: In-person attendance is limited to a maximum of 30 due to COVID measures, so please plan to participate via our online streaming platform; learn how to participate in the virtual Public Hearing here.

Please direct comments on the Short Term Rentals bylaws to hearing@squamish.ca. All comments received to date through this project page have been forwarded to the Public Hearing scheduled for September 29 at 6 p.m.  and are part of the Public Record. For more information please see the Public Meetings and Hearings page.

 

  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 proposed to be permitted?
    • Short-Term Rentals would be 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 would be 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. Will I need a business licence to operate a Short-Term Rental?
    • A District of Squamish business licence is required in order to operate a Short-Term Rental unit. Our Business Licence page will be updated with application information if the proposed regulations are approved.
  4. What is the proposed business licence fee 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 part). Could my secondary suite or coach house be used as a Short-Term Rental under the new regulations?
    • Short-Term Rentals are not permitted in secondary suites.
  7. Why are secondary suites and coach houses prohibited from use as Short-Term Rentals?
    • Secondary suites and coach houses are prohibited in both the existing regulations and the new regulations 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 proposed new Short-Term Rental regulations, were Short-Term Rentals permitted in Squamish?
    • Only Bed and Breakfasts are currently permitted, 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 nor are currently permitted under the District’s Zoning Bylaw.
    • Note that the definition Short-Term Rental was added to the Zoning Bylaw (Bylaw 2582, 2018) to ensure that the existing 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. Could 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. Could 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. This regulatory direction will be reviewed in future evaluation of the regulations.
  11. My strata bylaws prohibit Short-Term Rentals. Could my principal residence be licensed as a Short-Term Rental if it meets the District bylaws?
    • No, you must comply with the 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 higher frequency rentals, so not all Short-Term Rental units will be subject to District inspection.
  13. What will be 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, but the District will not begin active enforcement until the Short-Term Rental business licence program is up and running (tentative date to start active enforcement is January 2021, subject to approval of the regulations and implementation).
  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 proposed for?
    • The proposed $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 future 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 would 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 current 2-bedroom limit and the requirement for common areas (dining room) are removed in the proposed bylaw. The parking requirement is proposed to be reduced to 1 space for every 2 bedrooms.
  18. I’m a property manager; will I need to have a Short-Term Rental licence for the properties that I manage?
    • All Short-Term Rental properties will 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; will 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 will I need to provide for the Short-Term Rental?
    • For rentals in single family homes, you will 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 will be required.
  21. How many bedrooms may I be allowed to rent out?
    • There is no proposed 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 may be allowed at one time?
    • There is no proposed 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 may be allowed at one time?
    • There is no proposed 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 will I be allowed to short-term rent per year?
    • There is no proposed limit or cap on the number of nights in a year you may short-term rent.

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