Understanding the Short-Terms Rental Accommodations Act of British Columbia

, ,

How BC’s Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act Affects Your Property

The government of British Columbia has recently enacted new legislation regarding short-term rentals. The Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act (the “Act”) came into effect in October 2023 and will continue to be rolled out over the course of two years. The primary aim of the Act is to address the housing shortage by transitioning short-term rental units into long-term housing options. However, there are certain exemptions to the new legislation including hotels, motels, student accommodations, as well as ski and resort regions, and farmlands.

A short-term rental is defined as the service of accommodation by a property host, in exchange for a fee, that is provided to members of the public for a period of less than 90 consecutive days. The Act limits short-term rentals to where the host utilizes the property as their principal residence, meaning they reside at the residence for a longer period of time in a calendar year than any other place. Further, the property host may offer for rent a secondary suite or an accessory dwelling unit where the property is the host’s principal residence. The principal residence requirement applies to communities with a population higher than 10,000 people, including smaller neighbouring communities. Communities such as Tofino and Whistler are not included in the principal residence requirement, however, their local governments may choose to opt-in to include this requirement.

The Act also imposes obligations on the host of short-term rentals as well as the platform service providers, such as Airbnb and VRBO, to be registered with the province. The host must include their provincial registration number, and where applicable, a business licence number on the rental listing.

The Act will have impacts on short-term rentals found on Airbnb, VRBO and other platforms, however, rentals will still be available where the property is the principal residence of the host. Where it is the principal residence, the host can rent the property, as well as one secondary suite or one accessory dwelling unit.

Do you have questions about turning your primary residence into a short-term rental, or how the Act affects secondary properties? Contact Heath Law to schedule your consultation.

*This blog is up to date as of June 1, 2024*