New BC Short Term Rental Legislation

If you’re a property owner in beautiful British Columbia, providing short-term rentals via online platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and FlipKey has likely been a lucrative venture.

But an upcoming piece of legislation known as Bill 35 – 2023 is set to completely change the game. In an attempt to increase the supply of rental housing, the NDP government is making sweeping changes to BC’s short term rental rules.

This bill targeting short term rental hosts was recently tabled for 2nd reading by the BC government, which means it’s highly likely to pass into legislation.

If it passes, most short-term rental owners in BC will need to find a new approach to property rentals before the end of 2024.

In this blog, we show you the most important details of Bill 35 for BC property owners, and how you can transition towards profitability in the long term rental market.


Understanding Bill 35 | BC Short Term Rental Legislation

Bill 35, part of the NDP’s Homes for People action plan against the housing crisis, defines short-term rentals as any accommodations provided to the public for less than 90 consecutive days.

If you plan to continue renting your property on a short-term basis, you’ll need to provide the Province with specific information including your contact details, property address, registration number, and business license number (if required by local bylaw).

You’ll also need to register your short-term rental and pay an annual fee, which is yet to be announced. Registrations and renewals are valid for up to one year.


Principal Residence Requirement

Unless your short term rental units are classified as a hotel, motel, or are located within exempt lands, your short-term rentals must be situated inside your principal residence in the form of spare rooms, basement suites, or secondary suites like carriage homes (accessory dwelling units).


Exempt Areas from Bill 35

This new legislation will not apply to hotels, motels, fishing lodges, timeshares, or accommodation service providers. Properties located within Nisga’a Lands or treaty lands are also exempt, unless a coordination agreement to limit short term rentals is put in place by a Nisga’a Nation or First Nation.

Pending regulations will specify additional exempt areas, including:

  • 14 resort regions
  • mountain resort zones
  • municipalities under 10,000 population that are not located within 15km of a larger municipality
  • regional district electoral areas

Local governments will also be able to request changes to the exempt land classification in specific geographic areas.


What Are the 14 Resort Regions in BC That Will Be Exempt from Bill 35?

The BC Government hasn’t officially announced which 14 areas are going to be defined as resort regions under Bill 35.

But we can take a hint from section 583 of the Local Government Act (BC Reg. 90/2007), which defines the following 12 areas as resort regions in British Columbia:

  1. Fernie (and a portion of the East Kootenay Regional District Electoral Area A)
  2. Golden (and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District Electoral Area A)
  3. Harrison Hot Springs
  4. Invermere (and a portion of the Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area F)
  5. Kimberley
  6. Osoyoos
  7. Radium Hot Springs (and a portion of the East Kootenay Regional Districts Electoral Area G)
  8. Revelstoke
  9. Rossland
  10. Tofino
  11. Ucluelet
  12. Valemount

If you own short term rental units in any of these locations, you’ll most likely be off the hook from Bill 35 completely.


New Enforcement Tools

By late 2024, the BC Government plans to establish a provincial host and platform registry, along with a new short-term rental compliance & enforcement unit.

The director of this unit will have the authority to conduct investigations, request information, and impose penalties (up to a certain maximum amount) for non-compliance, failure to comply with an order, or refusal to produce records.

Before any penalty is imposed, property owners will have the right to a hearing.


Section 9  – Terms & Conditions

Section 9 of the act contains some vague wording that gives the Province a ton of leeway over anyone with short term rental listings.

First, it states that hosts must report any changes in information to the registrar, comply with the Act, and follow any other prescribed terms and conditions.

It then states that the registrar may “impose on a registration any terms and conditions, other than the terms and conditions described in subsection (1), that the registrar considers appropriate”.

In other words, the registrar is free to add or subtract new rules for short term rental operators whenever they want.

Sound fun? No, we don’t think so either.


Transitioning from Short-term to Long-term Rentals in BC

Considering these restrictive new legislative changes and our province’s housing concerns, now might be the perfect time to sell your property — or make the transition from short term rental platforms to the long term market.

So long as you find excellent long-term tenants, long-term rentals can be a profitable venture. You’ll keep your real estate portfolio in tact, take advantage of record-high rental rates in BC, and win back some of your time.

If you own a short-term rental in the Okanagan Valley, we can help you navigate a smooth, hassle-free shift to becoming a long-term rental owner.

Vantage West Property Management is an award-winning group of tenant and property managers in Kelowna, Lake Country, and Vernon, BC. In 2021 and 2021, we received the Consumer Choice Award for Property Management in Kelowna – a testament to our commitment to business excellence.

With decades of experience as investors, homeowners, and property managers, we can help you set the best possible price for your rentals and guarantee high-quality tenants, while managing your showings, paperwork, maintenance requests, and possible tenant disputes.

If you own multiple properties in the Okanagan Valley, we can offer you discounted management fee that’s 10% or less of your monthly rental income.

Ready to secure your BC rental property’s future?

Schedule a free consultation with our experienced property managers in Kelowna. Our team can assess your situation and offer advice on how to smoothly transition to long-term rentals.

Request your consultation or give us a call at (250) 868-3151.