Prior to April 2018, rental stays of less than 30 days are not allowed in Vancouver except for in licensed hotels or bed-and-breakfasts in zoned areas. Due to high rents and low vacancy rates, the city has voted to begin allowing short-term rentals.
So if you’re looking to make some extra cash by renting out your home on Airbnb, here’s how to do it by the book.
Am I eligible to rent out my home short-term?
In order to be eligible to rent out your home for short-term guests, you must live in the home yourself for most of the year and it must be a legal suite that meets all building and safety requirements. If you’re a renter or if you’re in a strata, you must have your landlord’s permission or your strata bylaws must allow for short-term rentals.
If you’re still unsure, try this online quiz to see if you’re eligible.
I’m eligible! Now what? Do I need a license?
If you’re eligible to rent out your home, you’ll need a short-term rental business license from the city of Vancouver. This is a new type of business license the city created to regulate short-term rentals. Residents can apply for these licenses online beginning April 18, 2018. Short-term rentals are not permitted before that date.
The license will require a one-time activation fee of $54 and will cost $49 each year.
What sort of safety requirements are there?
To apply for a short-term rental business license, you’ll have to be able to prove your home meets all building and fire safety requirements including:
• A fire plan is posted at all entrances and exits.
• Smoke alarms are installed on every floor and in every bedroom.
• A working fire extinguisher is accessible on every floor.
• If you have gas appliances, you have a carbon monoxide detector installed on every floor.
• If the building has more than three units or 10 occupants, you have a fire alarm system installed.
• You keep inspection and test records and regularly maintain all smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and CO detectors.
That makes sense. Any other requirements as a host?
You’ll have to confirm your home is a legal dwelling and that you follow all city bylaws. You must provide 24/7 contact information, have an insurance policy and assume all liability for any costs or damages that result from short-term rentals. You must make sure there is no unreasonable disturbance or nuisance and restrict parking to your property or where street parking is permitted.
Once I have my license, then what?
If you have successfully applied for and received a business license for short-term rentals in Vancouver, you can begin to list your home for short-term rent on platforms like Airbnb or VRBO. However, you are required to list your business license number on your rental listing. Failing to do so could mean a fine of up to $1,000.
What happens if I don’t meet all the requirements or if I don’t get a license but rent out my home anyway?
As part of the city’s new regulations for short-term rentals, a dedicated enforcement coordinator and additional inspector will be hired to conduct inspections and audits based on complaints that are received.
I’m ready to host! Any advice?
If you’ve never hosted a short-term rental before, be sure to look online for tips and tricks about being a good host. Some easy ways to ensure a good experience include:
• Two sets of bed linen to make the changeover between guests easier and faster.
• A framed and mounted map of your neighbourhood or paper maps on hand for guests.
• A binder with house rules, neighbourhood recommendations and safety information set out in the room.