Short-term rental regulations take effect April 23

April 12, 2019

New bylaws to allow and regulate short-term rentals in Kelowna were adopted by Council on Monday. With the new bylaw in effect, operators can apply for their business licence starting Tuesday, April 23.

Under the new rules, a homeowner or primary resident can legally rent their principal residence for periods of 29 days or less. Select tourist areas will continue to allow short-term rentals outside of an operator’s principal residence. Anyone looking to operate a short-term rental must apply for and be issued a short-term rental business licence. Council will consider a separate bylaw regulating short-term rentals in secondary suites and carriage houses later this spring.

“Those wishing to rent their home on a short-term basis are encouraged to obtain a business licence by July 1,” said Greg Wise, Business Licence Manager. “After this two-month window, operators found to be listing a property without a business licence, or in violation of associated regulations, will be expected to comply.”

The short-term rental industry has significantly increased over the past several years. For example, over a one-year period from 2017 to 2018 the number of unique short-term rental listings in Kelowna increased approximately 69 per cent, from 1,172 to 1,979.

“A short-term rental accommodation is essentially a home business that operates similar to a hotel or a bed and breakfast – both of which follow their own set of regulations,” said Wise. “Applying similar rules to short-term rental operators supports consistency within Kelowna’s accommodation industry.” 

The regulations were developed in consideration of public and stakeholder input. A public survey in fall 2017 received more than 2,600 responses providing initial input. And in fall 2018, the City invited several stakeholders – including the tourism and accommodation industry, business and neighbourhood associations, development industry, short-term rental platforms, Healthy Housing Advisory committee, and interested residents – to review and comment on the proposed regulations.

The final regulations reflect the diverse community needs and interests, aiming to protect long-term rentals, limit impacts to neighbourhoods, and ensure equity among all accommodation providers. Business licensing will support more proactive compliance and enforcement.

For more information about short-term rental regulations, visit kelowna.ca/business.