Upcoming New Legislative Changes

There are new provincial and municipal legislative changes coming soon related to short-term rentals. The province defines short-term rentals as accomodations rented out for a period of less than 90 consecutive days. The new rules will apply to cities with a population of 10,000 or greater. British Columbia's provincial rules allow each municipality to determine their specific regulations and bylaws.

There is much debate about whether tightening the current rules in place will improve the rental market situation. 

The BC goverment issued a news release on Oct.16th, 2023 regarding the introduction of legislation to regulate the short term rental market. The purpose for this amendment is an attempt to alleviate the rental housing crisis by limiting short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO in hopes of a rapid increase in vacancy for residents within the community.
The legislation focuses on three key areas:

  • increasing fines and strenthening tools for the local governments
  • returning more short-term rentals to long-term homes
  • establishing provincial rules and enforcement

Changes to how short-term rentals operate will come into effect through a phased-in approach and will include:

  • Increasing fines and better tools for local governments:
  • increasing fines for operators breaking local rules to support local municipal bylaws and requiring short-term rental platforms to share data to strengthen local enforcement.
  • requiring online short-term rental platforms to share their data with the Province, so the Province can provide that information to local governemnts for enforcement and support of provincial and federal tax auditing.
  • requiring short-term rental platforms to include businesses license numbers on listings where they are used by a local governemnt and to remove listings without them quickly to ensure local rules are being followed 
  • giving regional districts the ability to issue business licences so they can more effectively regulate short-term rentals in rural areas

Click the image to read the full  'News Release'

Click on the image to review the 'Briefing Presentation'

The City of Victoria regulations allow short-term rentals for 'eligible operators'. Eligible operators must have a short-term rental business licence and comply with the operating requirements.

You can view the short term rental bylaw below

Short-Term Rental Regulation Bylaw


You are eligible if:
1.  Your short-term rental unit is your principal residence:

  • the whole home on occasion (ie; vacation)
  • up to two bedrooms in your home with shared kitchen and living spaces.
  • You own a legally non-conforming unit where transient accommodation was a permitted use

Changes to the Zoning Bylaw now prohibit short-term rentals in residential units where "transient accommodation" was a permitted use in zoning. However, properties may be considered legally non-conforming under this use if they have been operating a short-term rental in a transient accommodation zone prior to the zoning changes, and comply with strata regulations and operating requirements. 

You are not eligible if:
The short-term rental unit is:

  • a self-contained dwelling suite, except for when a renter rents it out on occasion with owner's permission 

Where the home occupations are permitted pursuant to the provisions of this bylaw, the following conditions shall apply to the use:

Location:  For the purposes of a home occupation, the location of a business is the address at which the operations of the business are managed.
Exception:  A home occupation is not required to be operated wholly within a dwelling unit where the work is undertaken entirely off the lot on which the dwelling unit is located.
Prohibtion:  The sale of goods to customers attending on the lot on which the dwelling unit is located is prohibited.
Permitted Uses: The following uses are permitted as home occupations:

  • Artist studio
  • Mail order, provided that no merchandise is sold to customers attending on the lot on which the dwelling unit is located
  • Making, processing and assembly of products on a small scale
  • Manufacturing agent
  • Personal and professional services, including barber, hairdresser, bookkepper, medical therapy
  • Teaching, provided that attendance is limited to 5 persons in a detached dwelling and to 1 person in a duplex or multiple dwelling
  • Testing, servicing and repairing of goods.

Frequently asked questions and Business License Application Forms can be found on their website by clicking on their logo.

The Federal government is actively examining what options and tools and housing strategies exist that will make a difference in the housing shortage issue. They have recently announced plans to waive the GST on purpose built rental housing as a measure to increase the number of homes available to buy or rent.

*We intend to update this blog once the federal, provincial or municipal bylaws have been officially amended.  

If you would like to have a private and confidential conversation regarding short-term rental vacation properties in Victoria, please reach out via the contact info below.

Posted by Stephen Foster on
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