Revelstoke City Council approved the first two readings for bylaw changes that will regulate short-term rentals within the city.
A public hearing will be scheduled for September–there is still time for changes to be made prior to the third reading and adoption.
While some councillors voiced apprehension, they were assured changes could be made after the public hearing.
The proposed changes
If the bylaw is passed all single-family homes in residential zones, with secondary suites, will be permitted to apply for a short-term rental business licence, however, a cap of 300 licences has been proposed. The total will not include comprehensive development zones such as the resort and Mackenzie Village.
The city defines a short-term rental as accommodation rented for less than 30 days at a time to the travelling public.
For vacation rentals on residential properties, there must be someone living permanently in the home that is available 24/7 to address issues as they arise, however, commercially zoned properties can have an off-site manager, that is available 24/7.
Units in residential zones will be a maximum of three bedrooms for up to six guests. One parking space must be provided per bedroom.
Only the secondary suite will be allowed to be rented as a short-term rental.
At the moment there are 29 spot-zoned properties in Revelstoke that allow for short-term rentals, while those will be exempt from these changes, they will be included in the total count of business licenses.
Properties operating without a business licence will be fined $1,000 a day. Violation of the short-term rental requirements would be a $500 fine per day. A second offence would be $1,000 per day.
The cost of licences will be increased, however, the cost will be determined through a business case at a future date. The city is legislated to only charge in order to recover costs.
The process so far
The amendments have been in the works since 2019, including several presentations to the committee of the whole, a focus group, and an online survey.
The amendments were meant to address several issues with vacation rentals that were identified by staff back in 2019, based on industry and community feedback including:
•removal of housing stock from full-time rentals
•noise and disturbance
•increases in home sale price and rents that affect affordability
•inequity in who pays commercial taxes
The next step is a public hearing. The community will be invited to submit comments via email as well as in-person at a yet-to-be-scheduled meeting in September.
There was $50,000 budgeted for the project in 2020, the most recent report from city staff said there is around $32,000 still remaining.
What are other places doing?
The Town of Golden updated their bylaws regulating short-term rentals in December of 2020. Similar to what is proposed in Revelstoke, short-term rentals are allowed in all residential zones with secondary suites, as long as someone lives permanently onsite.
Fernie adopted its regulations in 2017. Short-term rentals are permitted in principle residences but not in secondary suites, second homes, garden suites or garage suites. Two off-street parking spots must be provided.
In Whistler only zones that permit tourist accommodation are allowed short-term rentals, residential-zoned properties do not.
Canmore has a ‘tourist home’ designation, you cannot rent for a short-term stay unless you have that designation. These houses will not be on property that is zoned residential. They charge $2,500 for operating without a license, and $5,000 for subsequent offences.