Short-Term Rental Restrictions Introduced in BC

Recently, the B.C. Government announced legislation aimed at restricting short-term rentals in the province, seeking to discourage landlords and investors from listing units on sites such as VRBO and Airbnb. The ultimate goal of the legislation is returning those units to the long-term rental market and easing the crunch on rental spaces across the province’s urban centres.

Many of the new restrictions in the Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act went into effect via Royal Asset in October 16, with others coming into force through 2024. In its current form, the legislation focuses on 3 key areas:


Stronger enforcement tools for local governments

The stronger enforcement provisions of the legislation includes:

  • Increased fines—up to $3,000 per infraction, per day—with a maximum penalty of $50,000 for severe infractions.
  • Mandatory data sharing between short-term rental platforms and local, provincial and federal governments.
  • Allowing local governments to issue business licenses, specific to short-term rental, plus expanded business license requirements.


Shifting Housing Stock

With the aim to shift more housing stock from short-term rentals into long-term homes, the legislation includes:

  • Restricting short-term rentals to primary residences in municipalities with a population of 10,000 people or more.
  • Exemptions to this restriction are still being finalized for areas such as resort regions.
  • Closing short-term rental loopholes across existing legislation.


Provincial Rules & Enforcement

Currently, short-term rental enforcement has fallen largely to local governments. However the provincial government will be establishing a provincial registry—for hosts and platforms—in 2024, along with a new compliance and enforcement unit.

So far, industry reaction to the legislation has been mixed, with some questioning whether the legislation will have the desired impact, while others worry about the financial impact on snow-birds using short-term rentals to supplement their retirement.


For questions about the how these changes, or other legal real estate topics, please contact Justin J. Park, Susan Do or Hugh H. Claxton.