Tourist Accommodation Business Licence

Business licences are required for all Whistler vacation rental properties.

In Whistler, a business licence is required for property owners to market, manage 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 $25 charge for each unit). Each unit needs to listed on the application form.

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 accommodation 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 residential-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.

Check your property’s zoning and covenants

Apply for a Business Licence

1. Check your property’s zoning to make sure “tourist accommodation” is included in the permitted uses.

2. If you manage more than one tourist accommodation location, please upload the Location List form below with your application. 

3.  Apply online for a Tourist Accommodation Business Licence.

Business Licence fee

  • Hotel Business $190 + $10 per guest unit
  • Campground $190 + $5 per site
  • Tourist Accommodation business (including property managers) $190 + $25 per guest unit

A one-time, nonrefundable application fee applies to all new applications. Learn more about licence fees and payment options.

Enforcement

The Tourist Accommodation Regulation 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 $500 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 $500 per infraction.

  • File a complaint with Bylaw Services, if you are a resident concerned about an illegal nightly rental in your neighbourhood.

Provincial Short-Term Rentals Accommodations Act

The regulations and responsibilities under the new Provincial Short-Term Rentals Accommodations Act will come into effect at different times over the next two years through a phased approach. The option to increase enforcement fines for illegal short-term rentals rolled out in this new legislation is under review in our community.

Whistler is exempt from the principal residence portion of this Act. This means if your property is zoned for short-term rental and you are legally renting your property, with a business licence, nothing is changing for your rental status. Our community is a purpose-built resort, where we manage our tourism economy through zoning, covenants, and business regulations. We actively investigate short-term rentals operating outside of regulations.

It is important to note, for 2024 forward, if a listing does not include a valid business licence, the short-term rental platform must remove the listing at the RMOW’s request.

Background

Find more information about the Tourist Accommodation Review.

Contact

Bylaw Department – Business Licences
604-935-8249
businesslicences@whistler.ca