Vancouver Council approves new short-term rental regulations

Gregor Robertson
Photo by Sukhwant Singh Dhillon

VANCOUVER City Council has approved new regulations for short-term rentals, legalizing rentals of less than 30 days in principal residences in Vancouver.

After two days of public hearing with more than 100 speakers representing different viewpoints, City Council debated the proposed regulations, which were brought forward by City staff last June to address the more than 6,000 illegal short-term rentals currently operating in Vancouver.

Council voted to approve the regulations, allowing short-term rentals in principal residences of both owners and renters. The City estimates that at least 70 to 80 per cent of existing listings will be able to operate legally in Vancouver as of April 1, 2018.

“Housing is first and foremost for homes, and I’m very pleased to see this approach to short-term rentals move forward,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson on Tuesday. “The City’s new regulations strike a fair balance that will ensure the best use of all our housing. They will protect and ultimately free up more long-term rental stock, which is desperately needed to help us solve our rental housing crisis and provide homes for the thousands of renters who are struggling. At the same time, the new rules recognize that many people rely on extra income from short-term rentals in their own homes in order to make ends meet.”

The regulations were informed by an extensive public consultation process conducted over a year-long period as well as a technical review of various approaches used in municipalities around the globe.

The City estimates at least 1,000 of the currently illegal rentals are not principal residences and would not be supported as short-term rentals under the new regulations. “Establishing a legal licensing system allows us to have clear rules about what is and isn’t allowed and offers a strengthened enforcement system so we can respond to complaints more quickly and with stronger fines and even legal action, if necessary,” said Kaye Krishna, General Manager of Development, Buildings and Licensing. “Our regulations will also protect those who rent short-term, ensuring they’re staying in safe and legal homes.”

Residents who wish to rent their principal residence starting in April will need to apply for a business licence with the City to validate their legal short-term rental. As part of the new policy, the City will have improved enforcement mechanisms, including a dedicated enforcement coordinator and an additional inspector to support complaint-driven and auditing inspections. Those who rent short-term without a licence will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 per infraction.

Until April 2018, the City will continue to pursue illegal short-term rentals, with a focus on commercial listings, unsafe listings or illegal dwellings, and nuisance properties. Complaints about short-term rentals in Vancouver can be submitted to the City by calling 3-1-1 or through the VanConnect app.

Facts about the new short-term rental regulations:

  • The new regulations will come into effect on April 1, 2018.
  • Residents will be able to apply for and receive a short-term rental licence online. Licences will cost $49 and there will be a one-time administrative fee of $54.
  • Rentals in principal residences – for both owners and renters – will be able to be legally rented for periods of less than 30 days at a time.
  • A principal residence is where someone lives most of the year, pays their bills, cooks their meals and receives government mail.
  • Long-term rentals are any rentals over 30 days at a time. A long-term rental could be one month, three months, a year, etc.
  • Secondary suites, laneway homes and investment properties can only be rented short-term by a principal resident, which may include a long-term renter.
  • Secondary suites, laneway homes and investment properties can be rented for periods as short as 30 days at a time.
  • Until the regulations come into effect, short-term rentals remain illegal in Vancouver, unless they are in a licensed hotel or bed and breakfast.
  • The City will continue to enforce illegal short-term rentals, with a focus on commercial listings, unsafe listings and illegal dwelling units (e.g. vans) and nuisance properties.
  • Residents can report problem short-term rentals by calling 3-1-1 or using the VanConnect app.
  • For more information on short-term rentals, visit