Legislation introduced to rein in short-term rentals, deliver more homes for people (flickr.com)

Media Contacts

Ministry of Housing

Media Relations
236 478-0251

Jimmy Smith

Deputy Director of Communications
Office of the Premier


Facts about short-term rentals in B.C.
Updated Nov. 29, 2023
  • At least 30 municipalities in B.C. have introduced bylaws and licence fees to manage the growing need for regulation of short-term rentals, municipal short-term rental bylaws or licence fees.
  • These bylaws range in levels of restrictions and rules toward hosting short-term rentals and demonstrate the need for a whole of province approach.   
  • Many of those bylaws stipulate some form of principal residence requirement, like in Vancouver and Victoria, but some municipalities are lacking the tools, data and ability to enforce the bylaws.
  • In Vancouver, city data shows more than 30% of hosts are operating illegally.
  • In Victoria, approximately 1,600 units are operating under the legal non-conforming clause, which prohibits city bylaws from applying to certain buildings and homes.
    • City records also show that 42% of short-term rentals licences are held by operators who live out of town.
  • In Kelowna, there are nearly 1,200 short-term rental accommodations with a valid business licence, an increase of 89% since 2020.
    • Data, however, indicates nearly 2,400 unique properties (across 74 different short-term rental platforms) may be offering short-term rental accommodation. 
  • In the District of Squamish, city reports show short-term rental units have increased 38% from 2021 to 2022 and less than half of operating short-term rentals are compliant with regulations.
  • Based on business licence counts from a sample of 15 municipalities, the Province estimates the percentage of non-compliant short-term rental listings in 2023 is about 40-50%.
  • Short-term rentals are increasingly seen as contributing to global housing challenges, and in response, jurisdictions around the world are increasingly taking action to regulate, restrict or ban short-term rental of units, in particular short-term rental of units that could otherwise be providing long-term housing.

Learn More:

For public enquiries, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/home/get-help-with-government-services
Or visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/shorttermrentals

Proposed short-term rental legislation to increase housing in B.C.

New legislation and enforcement tools will improve how short-term rentals can operate in B.C. These changes establish minimum requirements for local governments, which may choose to enact further restrictions. 

The changes will include:

Increasing fines and better tools for local governments

  • Municipal ticket information system (also referred to as MTI or municipal ticketing) fines that can levied by local governments are expected to increase from $1,000 to $3,000, which can be imposed per infraction, per day.
  • The Local Government Act will also be amended to increase the maximum penalty that can be levied by regional districts from a maximum of $2,000 to up to a maximum of $50,000 for prosecutions under the Offence Act.
  • Short-term rental platforms will be required to provide data to the Province relating to their hosts’ listings, which will be shared with local governments to help them enforce compliance and used to support tax auditing.
  • Platforms will have to remove a host listing within a few days when there is no valid local government business licence or provincial registration in place.
  • Regional districts will be given the ability to issue business licences to regulate short-term rentals more effectively in rural areas.

Returning more short-term rentals into long-term homes for people

  • Require short-term rentals to be offered only in the principal residence* of a host in municipalities with a population of 10,000 people or more (*principal residence plus one additional unit, secondary suite or laneway home/garden suite on the property is allowed).
  • The following communities will be exempt from the principal residence requirement through regulations, but can opt in if the local government decides to do so:
    • Most municipalities with a population under 10,000 people (except those immediately adjacent to larger municipalities with the principal residence requirement, e.g., Highlands, Belcarra).
    • The 14 resort communities and mountain resort areas (e.g., Whistler and Sun Peaks).
    • All regional district areas.
  • The regulations will intend to specify a process whereby larger communities (population of 10,000 people or more) that are covered by the principal residence requirement, but which have a vacancy rate above 3%, can request to opt out.
  • A full list of municipalities that are subjected to the principal residence requirement is in Backgrounder 4.

Establishing provincial rules and enforcement

  • Requiring mandatory participation in the provincial host and platform registry, to be established by late 2024.
  • Short-term rental listings will need to include hosts’ local government business licence number and, when launched, a provincial registry number.
  • Launching a provincial short-term rental compliance and enforcement unit to make sure rules are being followed. The provincial unit will:
    • track compliance;
    • issue orders; and
    • administer penalties for violations.

Note: Requirements to share data with the Province to improve enforcement efforts and the requirement to remove listings not following local and provincial rules will only apply to online platforms that book and receive payments for a short-term stay. To ensure short-term rentals hosts are following rules, the requirement to register listings and the principal residence requirement will apply to all advertised short-term rental listings.

Learn More:

For public enquiries, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/home/get-help-with-government-services
Or visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/shorttermrentals

Timeline of legislation

The proposed legislation and accompanying regulations will come into effect in a phased-in approach.

Phase 1 – Increasing fines (immediately after the legislation is passed and receives royal assent)

  • Fines
    • Forthcoming regulations are intended to increase fines under the municipal ticketing information (MTI) system in the Community Charter and Vancouver Charter By-law Enforcement Ticket Regulations from $1,000 to $3,000 per infraction, per day.
    • Increase the maximum fine regional districts can set for prosecutions of bylaw offences to $50,000 (consistent with the maximum fine for municipalities under the Community Charter). 
  • Regional districts
    • Amend the Local Government Act to provide regional districts with the authority to create businesses licences for short-term rentals.

 Phase 2 – Releasing short-term rental units to long-term use (May 1, 2024)

  • Enacting the principal residence requirement
    • Require short-term rentals to be provided in the principal residence of a host only, plus one secondary suite or laneway home/garden suite on the property in communities with a population over 10,000 people.
  • Removing legal non-conforming use clause
    • Remove legacy protections of non-conforming use of property in the Local Government Act and Vancouver Charter so they do not apply to short-term rentals. 

Phase 3 – Introducing platform accountability measures (summer 2024)

  • Requiring that short-term rental platforms include businesses licence numbers on listings where they are used by a local government, and to remove listings without them quickly to ensure local rules are being followed.
  • Requiring platforms to provide certain information about listings to the Province on a regular basis and allow the Province to share information with local governments to support bylaw enforcement.

Phase 4 – Creating provincial oversight (late 2024)

  • Creating a registry and requiring all short-term rental hosts to register their short-term rental properties, and require platforms to register their business operations with the Province. 

Learn More:

For public enquiries, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/home/get-help-with-government-services
Or visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/shorttermrentals

Communities with principal residence requirement
Updated on Jan.9, 2024

Communities where the principal residence requirement will be applied are listed below – communities with a population of more than 10,000 people and those immediately adjacent to them.

Communities adjacent to larger municipalities are defined as smaller communities less than 15 kilometres away from a larger community with the principal residence requirement.

When regulations are released, it is intended that communities over a 3% vacancy rate (using the most current data available) may request an exemption from the principal residence requirement.

NOTE: There are asterisks (*) on communities that currently have a vacancy rate above 3% using 2023 CMHC data.

Communities currently exempt from this list may be added if local governments request to join or opt into the principal residence requirement.

The communities with a population of more than 10,000 people (in order of population size) are as follows:

  • Vancouver
  • Surrey
  • Burnaby
  • Richmond
  • Abbotsford
  • Coquitlam
  • Kelowna
  • Township of Langley
  • Saanich
  • Delta
  • Nanaimo
  • Kamloops
  • Chilliwack
  • Victoria
  • Maple Ridge
  • District of North Vancouver
  • New Westminster
  • Prince George*
  • Port Coquitlam
  • City of North Vancouver
  • Langford 
  • Vernon
  • West Vancouver
  • Mission*
  • Penticton
  • West Kelowna*
  • Campbell River
  • Port Moody
  • North Cowichan 
  • City of Langley
  • Courtenay
  • Squamish
  • White Rock
  • Fort. St. John*
  • Cranbrook
  • Salmon Arm
  • Pitt Meadows
  • Colwood
  • Port Alberni
  • Oak Bay
  • Esquimalt
  • Central Saanich*
  • Lake Country
  • Sooke
  • Comox
  • Powell River
  • Parksville
  • Dawson Creek*
  • Sidney 
  • Prince Rupert*
  • North Saanich
  • Summerland
  • Terrace
  • View Royal
  • Coldstream
  • Nelson
  • Williams Lake*
  • Sechelt

The following are adjacent communities and will have the primary residence requirement:

  • Qualicum Beach
  • Metchosin
  • Duncan
  • Cumberland
  • Highlands
  • Anmore
  • Pouce Coupe*
  • Belcarra

Resort regions will be exempt from the principal residence requirement but can opt in if local governments choose to do so. There are 14 resort regions in the province:

  • City of Fernie
  • Town of Golden
  • Village of Harrison Hot Springs
  • District of Invermere
  • City of Kimberley
  • Town of Osoyoos
  • Village of Radium Hot Springs
  • City of Revelstoke
  • City of Rossland
  • Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality
  • District of Tofino
  • District of Ucluelet
  • Village of Valemount
  • Resort Municipality of Whistler

Learn More:

For public enquiries, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/home/get-help-with-government-services

Or visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/shorttermrentals