Business licences are required for all Whistler vacation rental properties
In Whistler, a business licence is required for property owners to market and provide paid accommodation to tourists. This applies to all vacation rentals, including self-managed tourist accommodation properties with Phase 1 covenants or without covenants. Any property that is being marketed as tourist accommodation without a business licence is considered an illegal nightly rental, and fines are applicable.
An individual vacation rental owner marketing and providing their own unit(s) solely through a property manager is covered under the property manager’s licence. Owners undertaking any marketing or rental activity independently require a separate business licence, whether or not they are also using property management services. Only one licence is required per owner, even if that owner owns multiple units (i.e. a separate licence is not required for each unit, however, there is a $10 charge for each additional unit).
Can I rent my property as tourist accommodation?
In order to receive a business licence, a property must be zoned to allow tourist accommodation. While there are many properties in Whistler zoned to permit tourist accommodation, properties that are zoned as residential are not allowed to provide tourist accomodation for any length of time. Property owners who have previously conducted tourist accommodation business without a licence, including self-management of their own unit(s), are now required to obtain a licence.
In Whistler, "residential" zoning means a fixed place of living, to which a person intends to return when absent. Therefore, regardless of the length of stay, tourist accommodation is not permitted in any residentially-zoned area. To advertise and rent your property to tourists, your property's zoning must state that tourist accommodation or temporary accommodation is a permitted use.
Apply for a Business Licence
Check your property's zoning to make sure "tourist accommodation" is included in the permitted uses. If it is, fill out the form for a business licence. Email your application to email@example.com. The timeline for processing a non-resident application is approximately five business days.
Business Licence Fee
Business licence fees are $165 annually, plus $10 per additional accommodation unit that is operated by one licence holder. For example, if you market or provide two units, the business licence fee is $175 annually. For 2018, the fee will be prorated for the remainder of the year, and then renewals occur annually beginning January 1 of each year.
As before, hotels, hostels, pensions, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, recreational vehicle parks, and property managers with multiple units under their management are only required to have one licence, with an annual fee of $165 and a $10 charge for each additional unit of accommodation.
The bylaw enhances the municipality’s ability to enforce against illegal nightly rentals because enforcement may be done based on illegal marketing and advertising, rather than requiring proof of rental activity having taken place. Contravention of the bylaw may be subject to fines of up to $1,000 per infraction. Business licence fees for tourist accommodation may help to fund additional bylaw enforcement.
RMOW bylaw enforcement staff are actively involved in investigating properties on a case by case basis that are being rented for tourist accommodation in contravention of RMOW regulations. Contraventions may be subject to fines of up to $1,000 per infraction.
- File a complaint with Bylaw Services, if you are a resident concerned about an illegal nightly rental in your neighbourhood.
Find more information about the Tourist Accommodation Review.