In Whistler, Tourist Accommodation means the business of marketing or providing accommodation or lodging to paying guests, and includes hotel businesses, hostels, pensions, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, recreational vehicle parks, and vacation rentals.
A business licence is required for property owners to market and provide paid accommodation to tourists. The requirement is for all vacation rentals, including self-managed tourist accommodation properties with Phase 1 covenants or without covenants.
Only certain properties in Whistler are zoned to allow for Tourist Accommodation.
If you are considering advertising your property in Whistler to be used by tourists on a temporary basis, you need to have the proper zoning and a business licence. Any property owner without the proper business licence found marketing their home for paying guests will be ticketed and fined.
In Whistler, "residential" zoning means a fixed place of living, to which a person intends to return when absent. Regardless of the length of stay, tourist accommodation is not permitted when a property's zoning does not specifically state "tourist accommodation" or "temporary accommodation" as a permitted use of the property.
Why does Whistler regulate Tourist Accommodation?
Tourist accommodation is regulated in Whistler to protect the viability of Whistler's tourist accommodation sector, the visitor experience, housing supply for residents and neighbourhood character.
Extending the business licence requirement to all tourist accommodation units being marketed or provided in Whistler is consistent with the intent of the existing Business Licence Bylaw, which applies to anyone operating a business in Whistler.
- Property owners
If you own property in Whistler and are considering marketing or providing tourist accommodation, you must ensure you have the required business licence. You must also ensure the regulations related to your property permit tourist accommodation use. Your property is regulated by zoning or a land use contract (LUC). It may also have further obligations and restrictions in covenants registered on the title of the property.
- Tourists looking for vacation rentals
If you are a tourist looking to rent a property in Whistler for your stay, you can ask for proof of a business licence. This will help protect you from issues that may arise from the rental of illegal accommodations.
In 2017, Council adopted the Tourist Accommodation Regulation Bylaws and endorsed a Council Policy following an extensive review of policies and regulations related to rental of Whistler’s tourist accommodations, as well as research on online booking systems and customer expectations regarding service and amenities. The Council Policy schedules list tourist accommodation properties with Phase 2, Phase 1 and no rental pool covenants. These schedules contain the best available information at the time in 2017 and updates may occur in the future. Individuals should not rely on these schedules; to confirm covenants registered on title, please request a title search from the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC and review any covenants associated with the specific property in question.
Whistler was built on a plan that thoughtfully and strategically set out overall land use and development, including its unique accommodation mix. Whistler has a strong supply and wide range of properties zoned for visitor rentals with approximately 9,400 accommodation units in hotels, lodges, inns, condos, townhomes, detached dwellings, bed and breakfasts, pensions, hostels and RV and camping sites.
The Tourist Accommodation Review project found that things are generally working well for the tourism accommodation inventory: Whistler has a good mix of tourist accommodation types and unit availability, and visitor satisfaction is high for all tourist accommodation types.
Recent bylaw and policy updates, such as the new business licences requirement: support and reinforce existing zoning and covenant provisions; provide clarity to property owners; reinforce single rental pool requirements and services for hotel and Phase 2 properties; and focus on illegal nightly rentals and tourist accommodation business activities.
Learn more about specific regulations related to tourist accommodation properties in Whistler.