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What to know about the regulations and policy manuals
Updated on Dec. 8 and 15, 2023

Resources for Bill 35 – Short-Term Rental Accommodation Act:
To read the guidelines, visit:

Resources for Bill 44 - Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act and Bill 47- Housing Statutes (Transit-Oriented Development) Amendment Act: 
To read the SSMUH and TOD Area policy manuals, visit:

Other resources:
To read the full report on SSMUH and TOA scenarios in B.C., visit:

To view the regulations for all three Bills, visit:

What to know about Short-Term Rentals: Policy Guidance for BC Local Governments
Updated on Dec. 7, 2023

The Short-Term Rental Accommodation Act establishes a provincial role in the regulation of short-term rentals.

The legislation defines short-term rentals as rental listings that are being offered for stays of less than 90 consecutive days, and establishes a provincial principal-residence requirement in most communities.

The legislation applies to all short-term rentals being offered to the public, including:

  • offers hosted by a platform, where people reserve and pay for the rental service, like Airbnb, Expedia [VBRO and Homeaway] and Flipkey;
  • offers on other web listing forums or sites established by property managers such as Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji or Craigslist; and
  • offers in classified ads in newspapers.

The principal-residence requirement will apply in communities with a population more than 10,000, as well as some smaller neighbouring communities. A full list of communities where the primary-residence requirement will apply is available at:

Effective May 1, 2024, in areas where the principal-residence requirement applies, short-term rentals will be limited to a host’s principal residence, and either a secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) for most types of accommodation. Even if exempt from the principal-residence requirement, short-term rentals will be subject to provincial rules, including registration with the provincial registry, once the registry is in effect.

Accommodation exemptions:

The legislation does not apply to:

  • hotels, motels;
  • vehicles such as recreational vehicles (RVs); and
  • tents or temporary shelters.

Land exempt from principal-residency requirement:

  • Strata-titled hotel or motel if the owner may not use the property as a principal residence.
  • Properties where owners hold a fractional interest and cannot use the property as their principal residence due to provisions in a fractional ownership agreement.
  • Time Share properties.
  • Home exchanges.
  • Lodges (accommodation provided by an operator of outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, water sports).
  • Student accommodation (owned or operated by the educational institution or by a non-profit organization).
  • Strata-corporation guest suites intended for people visiting strata residents.
  • Regional-district electoral areas (except University of British Columbia and the University Endowment Lands), with a choice to request to opt in by board resolution.
  • Municipalities with populations less than 10,000 and are not within 15 kilometres of a larger municipality (as specified in the regulation), with a choice to request to opt in by council resolution.
  • Fourteen resort municipalities, with the choice to request to opt in.
  • Forty-four mountain resorts/ski areas, comprising regional/destination resorts, BC Parks resorts, some private resorts and community ski resorts, with no provisions for opting in.*
  • The trust area (as defined in section 1 of the Island Trust Act), with a choice for local trust committees to request to opt in.*
  • Land with BC Assessment farm class (Class 9), whether in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) or not*.

*Note: Lands described in the final three bullets would remain exempt if the municipality or regional district surrounding them requested to opt in.

Opting out of the principal-residence requirement:

Municipalities with a population more than 10,000 in 2021 Census and a rental-vacancy rate of 3% or more for each of the two previous years can opt out of the principal-residence requirement. Municipalities with populations less than 10,000 in 2021, but that are within 15 kilometres of a municipality more than 10,000 that has a rental-vacancy rate that is 3% or more for each of the previous two years, can also opt out.

Data for vacancy rates can be obtained through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) report, which is published in late January of each year.

For 2024, a local government’s request must be submitted to the Province by Feb. 29, 2024, to opt out of the principal-residence requirement before it comes into effect on May 1, 2024. In future, a local government’s request must be submitted to the Province by March 31st of each year, and the change will take effect on Nov. 1 of the same year.

Opting into the principal-residence requirement:

Municipalities with under 10,000 population, regional-district electoral areas and resort municipalities will be exempt from the principal-residence requirement, but may request to opt in. Mountain/ski resorts in rural areas are also exempt with no opt-in provision.

Local governments requesting to opt in must submit written requests accompanied by resolutions. Requests should include appropriate background information that describes the area and jurisdiction. The request must be submitted to the minister of housing by March 31st of each year (starting in 2024) to take effect on Nov. 1 of the same year (starting in 2024) to give hosts notice to comply. Opting in remains in effect indefinitely unless a subsequent request to reverse the exemption is made by March 31st of a future year.

Business licensing:

As of May 1, 2024, short-term rental hosts will be required to display a valid business licence number on their listing, where a business licence is required by a local government. To enable local governments to validate the business licence number (if they wish to do so), platforms will be required to enable the posting of the business licence number.

For short-term rentals, business licensing can provide valuable information about where these rentals are operating in the community.

Regional districts now have broad business and licensing powers, parallel to those of municipalities, in accordance with Division 6.1 of the Local Government Act.

Sharing data:

Short-term rental platforms must record and maintain any short-term rental information provided to them and disclose that information to the minister of housing. This information may be shared with local governments. More information will be released in spring 2024.

Fines and penalties:

The new legislation increased the maximum penalties available to regional districts. The maximum penalty that a regional district may specify for bylaw offences prosecuted under the Offence Act has been increased to $50,000.

The maximum fine that a local government and local trust committee of the Islands Trust may set for a bylaw ticket has been increased from $1,000 to $3,000 per infraction per day in accordance with the Community Charter Bylaw Enforcement Ticket Regulation and Vancouver Charter By-Law Enforcement Ticket Regulations.

The Province is also introducing a short-term rental compliance and enforcement unit to support the implementation of the new legislation. The unit will act as a conduit between the platforms and local governments for data-sharing, facilitate the process for the removal of short-term rental listings that do not have valid local government business licences from platforms, and undertake enforcement actions related to the provincial short-term rentals regulatory regime.

What to know about Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing Provincial Policy Manual and Site Standards

The policy manual is to be used by all local governments in B.C. to guide updates to zoning bylaws, other regulatory bylaws and policies undertaken to comply with small-scale multi-unit housing legislation. Subsequent resources or information bulletins may be issued by the Province to clarify or elaborate on changes to the requirements.

Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing (SSMUH) refers to a range of buildings and dwelling-unit configurations that can provide more affordable and attainable housing for middle-income families. Examples of SSMUH include, but are not limited to:

  • secondary suites in single-family dwellings or duplexes;
  • detached accessory-dwelling units (ADUs) like garden suites or laneway homes;
  • duplexes (side-by-side or up/down);
  • triplexes and house-plexes; and
  • town homes.

The SSMUH legislation identifies where the prescribed number of housing units must be permitted by local governments on single-family and duplex lots with certain characteristics. Whether the prescribed number of housing units must be permitted on a given lot is determined by a variety of factors, including:

  • whether or not the lot is within an urban containment boundary established by a regional growth strategy or an official community plan;
  • lot size;
  • whether a lot is serviced by municipal water and sewerage systems; and
  • for municipalities: population size, proximity of a given lot to transit services and the presence of specific heritage designations.

Local governments must amend their zoning and any related bylaws by June 30, 2024, to comply with this legislation and must consider the policy manual when doing so. In addition, local governments can no longer zone exclusively for single-family or duplex dwellings, except in areas that are exempt from this legislation.

The SSMUH legislation also prohibits local governments from:

  • Requiring off-street parking or loading spaces for the residential use of housing units in areas, where a minimum allowable density of six units is required in proximity to frequent bus transit.
  • Using density bonusing to achieve the minimum densities they are required to permit under SSMUH zoning, except that they may use density bonusing to achieve one of the six units required to be permitted near frequent bus transit.
  • Holding a public hearing on a zoning bylaw or amendments to a zoning bylaw proposed, for the sole purpose of complying with the SSMUH legislation.


Lands in a local trust area under the Islands Trust Act and rural land-use bylaws under Section 457 of the Local government Act are exempt from the requirements.

Local governments can also exempt land that is subject to hazardous conditions, where an increase in density would increase the risk from the hazardous conditions, the risk cannot practically be mitigated and a local government has a report from a qualified professional, like an engineer, attesting to the risk.

Local governments can also exempt areas from the requirements for three to six units for the following reasons:

  • land that is protected under s. 12.1 (2) of the Heritage Conservation Act;
  • land that is designated as protected under a bylaw made under LGA, s. 611 [heritage designation protection] at the time the legislation comes into force;
  • lands subject to a heritage revitalization agreement at the time the legislation comes into force;
  • land that is not connected to a water or sewer system (parcels must be connected to both) provided as a service by a municipality or regional district;
  • land that is within a zone in respect of which the minimum lot size that may be created by subdivision is 4,050 m2;
  • a parcel of land that is larger than 4,050 m2; and
  • land that is within a prescribed Transit Oriented Area.

The minister of housing may grant extensions to local governments to update their zoning bylaws if:

  • the local government is in the process of upgrading infrastructure that services the specific area or specific lot which the extension is being requested;
  • the infrastructure that services the area where SSMUH would apply is such that compliance by June 30, 2024, is likely to increase a risk to health, public safety or the environment in that area; or
  • extraordinary circumstances exist that otherwise prevent compliance in relation to the area (example would be major wildfire or flood events).

A policy bulletin with detailed application criteria and information on requesting an exemption will be made available in January 2024.

Local governments that do not comply with the legislative requirements for SSMUH by the compliance deadline of June 30, 2024, may be subject to a ministerial order that overrides their zoning bylaw and permits the minimum density of use required under SSMUH, until such a time as the local government undertakes updates to come into compliance with the legislation[JB1] [KAH2] . Local governments must update the official community plan by Dec. 31, 2025.

Site standards:

To comply with the SSMUH legislation, local governments will need to update their zoning bylaws by June 30, 2024, unless an extension is granted by the minister of housing.

To support local governments with this process, a series of site standards has been prepared that provide technical specifications commonly found in zoning bylaws. These site standards set provincial expectations for how local governments enable financially viable SSMUH developments by providing flexibility for builders and developers.

Four site standards have been prepared based on the different SSMUH unit requirements set out in the legislation. For specific information about each site standards, review the Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing Provincial Policy Manual Site Standards.

What to know about Provincial Policy Manual: Transit Oriented Areas

The Provincial Policy Guidance Manual is a resource to support local governments with the implementation of Provincial Transit-Oriented Areas (TOA) requirements.

The legislation requires local governments to consider this policy manual when doing the following within a TOA:

  • designating TOAs by bylaws;
  • adopting/amending zoning bylaws;
  • adopting/amending OCP bylaws (development plans for Vancouver);
  • adopting/amending parking regulations bylaw.

Additional guidance materials may be issued from time to time by the Province to assist local governments with implementing the TOA legislative requirements.

Within those TOAs, local governments are required to adhere to minimum densities when amending a zoning bylaw or updating an Official Community Plan (OCP) or Official Development Plan (ODP).

The regulations contain the prescribed TOA transit stations, some of which take effect immediately and others which take effect in June 2024. The regulations also establish a minimum density (MD) that must be allowed in TOAs. The MD will depend on the nature of the transit station (bus vs. rail) and the distance from the transit station.

  1. Sky Train station TOAs include SkyTrain and subway stops and all include a catchment area of 800 metres measured as a radium from the centre of each station. SkyTrain TOAs encompass a gross land area of 200 hectares (ha) and are comprised of three distinct tiers:
    1. Tier 1 encompasses a gross land area of 12.5 ha within 200 metres or less from the station.
    2. Tier 2 encompasses a gross land area of 37.5 ha within 201-400 metres from the station.
    3. Tier 3 encompasses a gross land area of 150 ha with 401- 800 metres from the station.
  2. Bus Exchanges and West Coast Express Stations are TOA nodes that have a catchment area of 400 metres. They encompass a gross land area of 50 ha and are comprised of two distinct tiers.
    1. Tier 4 encompasses a gross land are of 12.5 ha within 200 metres or less from the exchange.
    2. Tier 5 encompasses a gross land area of 37.5 ha within 201-400 metres from the exchange.

All West Coast Express stops are considered TOAs. Bus-exchange locations were identified based on multiple service and infrastructure criteria, including:

  • 15-minutes service frequency (between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.);
  • two or more unique line connections;
  • service 7 days a week (between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.);
  • one route meeting minimum frequency at least 12 hours/day; and
  • permanent, purpose-built infrastructure.

If a bus stop or exchange does not meet this criteria, it is not considered a TOA.

The Province developed the Minimum Allowable Density Framework (MD Framework), that sets out densities which local governments must allow when considering zoning bylaw or Official Community Plan (OCP) amendments.

The MD Framework relies on two metrics to define minimum allowable density:

  1. density measured by Floor Area Ratio (FAR), and
  2. building height measured in storeys.

The MD Framework does not change the existing rezoning process of a local government. Application fees, submission requirements, staff reporting, bylaw introduction and readings, public hearings and final adoption continue as before. Only density and height requirement are imposed by the new framework*.

Bill 47 restricts local government ability to require residential off-street parking in TOAs, except for parking for people with disabilities and to access services and amenities.

Under these guidelines and legislation 47, local governments must amend their Official Community Plans (OCP) to include TOA designations by June 30, 2024. If OCPs are amended to include corresponding densities outlined by the MD Framework and the Province requires all zoning bylaws to comply with OCPs by July 31, 2024, the MD Framework may only be in force for less than a year for some locations.

The regulations create four categories that municipalities fit into based on type of stop, size of municipality and transit-service provided.

A summary of these categories is available here:  

The identified 31 municipalities that must designate TOAs and adopt the minimum allowable densities prescribed in the regulations are as follows:

  • City of Abbotsford
  • City of Burnaby 
  • City of Chilliwack 
  • City of Colwood
  • City of Coquitlam
  • City of Delta
  • City of Kamloops 
  • City of Kelowna
  • City of Langford
  • City of Langley
  • Township of Langley
  • District of Lantzville
  • City of Maple Ridge 
  • City of Mission
  • City of Nanaimo
  • City of New Westminster
  • City of North Vancouver
  • District of North Vancouver
  • City of Penticton
  • City of Pitt Meadows
  • City of Prince George
  • City of Port Coquitlam
  • City of Port Moody
  • City of Richmond
  • District of Saanich
  • City of Surrey
  • City of Vancouver
  • City of Vernon
  • Town of View Royal
  • City of Victoria
  • Resort Municipality of Whistler

The guidance also includes a step-by-step guide for local government to appropriately designate all TOAs within their jurisdiction and implement the MD Framework.

Local governments must pass a bylaw that designates each TOA in accordance with the LGA, including a map, plan or other graphic material by June 30, 2024, and notify the minister of housing in writing of the final adoption of the bylaw that is compliant with TOA requirements, including a copy of the bylaw.

*Any rezoning application that has received First Reading by its respective local government before Jan. 1, 2024, will be exempt from the requirements of TOA Legislation 47 and Regulation 44.