B.C.'s Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act

New Rules For Short Term Rentals

BC is currently grappling with a severe housing crisis, characterized by a shortage of attainable housing, including long-term rentals. According to the government, the rise of short-term rental platforms, such as Airbnb and VRBO, has contributed to this crisis by reducing the availability of much-needed homes for British Columbians. To address these challenges, new regulations have been proposed.

Key Objectives Of Proposed Rules

  1. Give local governments stronger tools to enforce short-term rental bylaws.
  2. Return short-term rental units to the long-term rental market.
  3. Establish a new Provincial role in the regulation of short-term rentals.

Application Of Proposed Rules

The proposed rules apply to all short-term rentals offered to the public, including:

  • Offers hosted by online platforms (e.g., Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia).
  • Offers on web listing forums (e.g., Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Craigslist).
  • Offers in classified ads in newspapers.

However, the rules do not apply to reserve lands, Treaty Lands of a Treaty First Nation (unless opted in), hotels, motels, and other exempt accommodation providers.

1. Strengthening Local Government Tools

Increased fines and tickets: Maximum fines will increase from $2,000 to $50,000.

New business licensing authority for regional districts: Regional districts will now be able to regulate short term rentals, as municipalities can.

Display of business license: Hosts in areas requiring a business license will need to display a valid business license number on their listings.

Platform accountability: Short-term rental platforms are responsible for ensuring that listings include a valid business license where required by the local government.

Data sharing: Short-term rental platforms will now be required to share certain data with local governments.

2. Returning Short-Term Rentals to Long-Term Market

Principal residence requirement: Short term rentals will now be limited to (a) the host’s principal residence, (b) plus one secondary or accessory dwelling unit.

This will apply to every municipality over 10,000 population with few exemptions (such as resort communities like Tofino).

Changes to legal non-conforming use protections: Legal non-conforming use protections will no longer apply. This includes condo buildings downtown Victoria that previously were grandfathered into allow Transient Zoning (short term rentals) meaning this will no longer be allowed.

3. Establishing Provincial Oversight

Short-term registry: The province will establish a short-term rental registry and hosts will be required to list their registration number on their listing.

Provincial compliance and enforcement unit: This unit will track compliance, issue orders, and administer penalties for violations 


  • Immediately after Royal Assent: Increased fines and tickets, business licensing authority for regional districts
  • May 1, 2024: Principal residence requirement (including definition of exempt areas or accommodations), changes to legal non-conforming use protections
  • Summer 2024: Data sharing
  • Late 2024: Provincial registry launch, requiring platforms to remove listings without valid provincial registry numbers

What To Do If You Have A Short Term Rental?

If you currently own an AirBnB or Short Term Rental you may be affected by these propsed changes. There are some options for managing your rental and getting your ducks in a row before the May 1, 2024 principal residence requirement. 

  • If you meet the principal residence requirement, ensure you have a registered business license to display in your listing.
  • If you do not meet the principal residence requirement:
    • Consider the option of running your unit as a long term rental. The rental market in Greater Victoria and Cowichan Valley is very strong.
    • Consider selling your unit. If the sold reason behind having your property is to run AirBnB, you may want to consider selling your unit. Unfortunately, the market price is going to be affected by these new regulations.
      • Previously, AirBnB units sold at a premium as they are limited. Pricing now will be in line with other units that do not allow short term rentals.

I’m always available to discuss a strategy before the government implements these new rules! Reach out to have a conversation and gain valuable market insight into long term rental prices as well as comparable sale values.

More information can be found on the Government of BC’s website here:   www2.gov.bc.ca//short-term-rentals

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