Short Term Rental Regulations

On May 1, 2024, new Provincial Legislation took effect restricting short-term rentals in much of British Columbia, including Vernon. The aim is to convert more short-term rental units into long-term housing. The new rules give local governments stronger enforcement tools and limit short-term rentals to a host's principal residence and either a secondary suite or an accessory dwelling unit. The Province has provided exemptions for strata hotels and motels.

In Vernon, short-term rentals will be managed through a combination of Provincial Legislation and municipal regulations. The City is currently developing new bylaws and a business license for these rentals.

Key Terms

The following definitions are from the Province of BC. The following definitions are from the Province of BC. The City has included similar terms in the proposed Zoning Bylaw 6000.

  • A principal residence is the residence an individual lives in for a longer period during a calendar year than any other place.
  • Short-term rentals are accommodations provided to members of the public in a host’s property, in exchange for money, for a period of less than 90 consecutive days. They are generally tourist accommodations that are often found in residential or resort areas. They may be advertised via online platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia and FlipKey, and may also be advertised on other web forums including Facebook Marketplace, or found in classified ads in newspapers.
  • A strata-titled hotel or motel is a property in which accommodation is provided in a manner like that of a hotel or motel. Different owners own different strata lots. There is considerable variety in how strata-titled hotels and motels are set up, established, and marketed. 
  • A secondary suite is a self-contained living unit with its own kitchen, sleeping area, and washroom facilities, and which is contained within a larger dwelling unit.
  • An accessory dwelling unit (often referred to as an ADU) is a self-contained living unit with its own kitchen, sleeping area, and washroom facilities, and which is located on the same property as a dwelling unit. An accessory dwelling unit is sometimes referred to as a garden suite, laneway home, carriage house or garage suite.

Frequently Asked Questions (Q) and Answers (A)

Q    Does the City allow short-term rentals currently?
A    The City currently allows short-term rentals in areas zoned to allow bed and breakfasts, cottages, and tourist housing.

Q    Will the City allow short-term rentals in more areas soon? If yes, when?
A    Yes. The upcoming Zoning Bylaw 6000 would expand where short-term rentals are allowed. This includes proposed new agricultural, residential, resort, and mixed-use zones.
      Council will consider giving the bylaw  initial readings on Monday, May 27, 2024.

Q    If I own a property (house, townhouse, condo, or apartment) that I don’t live in, but rent out nightly to tourists and visitors, will I be able to continue doing this?
A    No. The new provincial regulations restrict short-term rentals to properties where the owners live in their principal residence. Only properties that can be rented nightly, without being a principal residence, are units in a strata hotel.

Q    If I want to rent out my entire home as a nightly rental when I’m away, will that be possible?
A    Yes. Short-term rentals are allowed if the property is your principal residence. (i.e. your home).

Q    Do I need to create a secondary suite to rent out on a nightly basis?
A    No. You can rent out any part of your principal residence without needing a secondary suite.

Q    If I rent out part of my home on a nightly basis, can I also rent out another unit on the same property on a nightly basis?
A    Yes. In addition to renting out part of your home on a short-term basis, you can also rent out one (1) other unit such as a cabin, carriage house or detached garage on your property.

Q    When can I get a new short-term rental business license?
A    The City is working on creating a business license application and process. It is expected to be ready by fall 2024.

Q    Is a bed and breakfast different than a short-term rental?  
A    The City anticipates that, under proposed bylaws, accommodations rented out on a short-term basis will be treated the same, regardless of the marketing platform used (e.g., Airbnb, VRBO, standalone website).

Q    If I own a property in a strata hotel, can I rent it out on Airbnb, or do I have to use the rental pool?
A    The Province has indicated that units within a strata hotel must be marketed and promoted through a single property website (i.e. rental pool) and cannot be rented independently, even when the property is determined to be a strata hotel.

Q    Can I still live full time in a building that is a strata hotel?
A    Yes. You can still reside in a strata hotel building as long as it complies with strata bylaws.

Q    Can I rezone my property to allow for nighty rentals?
A    You can apply through the City of Vernon to change your property's zoning from residential to commercial. However, it would involve a lengthy process with fees, public input, and no guarantee of the outcome.

Next Steps

  • If adopted, Zoning Bylaw 6000 aims to expand where short-term rentals are allowed. Council will consider giving the bylaw  initial readings on Monday, May 27, 2024.
  • Upon approval of Zoning Bylaw 6000, short-term rentals would be allowed as a secondary use in residential, resort and mixed-use zones throughout the community.  
  • The City is also developing a new business license for short-term rentals. We anticipate that residents will be able to apply for this business license in late summer or early fall of 2024. 
  • Until the proposed short-term rental regulations are in place, short-term rentals are generally not allowed in Vernon, except in zones designated for bed and breakfasts, cottages, and tourist housing. Violating Provincial Legislation or City bylaws could result in enforcement actions or fines imposed by either the Province or the City.

Provincial Links

New rules for short-term rentals