The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has land use regulations for temporary tourist accommodation.
If you own a property in Whistler and are considering renting it on a temporary basis to tourists, you must ensure the land use regulations for your property (as outlined in either your land use contract or zoning) permit temporary tourist accommodation use.
If you are a tourist looking to rent a property in Whistler for your next vacation, check to see if the property you are considering is zoned for temporary tourist accommodation to avoid renting a property that is not zoned for tourist accommodation.
RMOW bylaw enforcement staff are actively involved in investigating properties that are being rented for tourist accommodation in contravention of the Zoning and Parking Bylaw 303, 2015.
Unauthorized use or occupation of land, buildings or structures can result in fines of $1,000 per day to the property owner.
Land Use Regulations
Property uses in the RMOW are regulated by land use contracts or the Zoning and Parking Bylaw 303, 2015.
- Land Use Contracts (LUC) were used between 1971 and 1979 by the RMOW to regulate the use of land by contractual agreement adopted by bylaws.
- Zoning and Parking Bylaw No. 303, 2015 is a bylaw adopted by Council to regulate the use of land and is amended from time to time by Council through the adoption of amending bylaws.
Check Permitted Uses for a Property
You can use the RMOW's online GIS mapping system to determine if your property or a property you wish to rent for tourist accommodation is subject to a land use contract or zoning regulations:
- Click on this link for the RMOW’s GIS Interactive Mapping Tool.
- Enter a property address or place the cursor over the property on the GIS map.
- If the zoning category information displays “LUC”, the property is subject to a land use contract.
- If a zoning category is displayed, you can click on a link to take you directly to that zone in the zoning bylaw.
Land Use Contracts
To obtain copies of land use contracts, you may contact lawyers, notaries, land surveyors or independent registry agents. The Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia provides links to contact information here.
The Zoning and Parking Bylaw 303, 2015 contains a number of definitions, which need to be used in conjunction with each other to determine if a Temporary Tourist Accommodation Use is permitted on a property. The following definitions are relevant:
- “Apartment” means a residential building other than a townhouse containing three or more dwelling units, which has its principal access from a common entrance.
- “Auxiliary residential dwelling unit” means a dwelling unit which is ancillary to the principal use being made of the parcel upon which the auxiliary dwelling unit is located.
- "Detached dwelling” means a residential building containing not more than one principal dwelling unit.
- “Duplex dwelling” means a residential building consisting of two principal dwelling units placed one above the other or attached side by side.
- “Employee housing” means the use of a dwelling unit for occupation only by an employee or an individual related by blood, adoption, common-law marriage or foster parenthood to an employee or cohabitating with an employee in a spousal relationship.
- “Residential” means a fixed place of living, excluding any temporary accommodation, to which a person intends to return when absent.
- “Temporary” means a total of less than four consecutive weeks in a calendar year.
- “Tourist accommodation” means a building containing one or more habitable rooms or dwelling units that are used primarily for temporary lodging by visitors.
- “Townhouse” means a residential building containing three or more dwelling units, each of which has its own separate principal access not located on a common corridor or lobby.
Apartments, auxiliary dwelling units, as well as detached, duplex and townhouse dwellings contain the defined term “residential” within their definitions, which specifically excludes any temporary accommodations (i.e. rentals of less than four consecutive weeks). Therefore, by definition, most residentially zoned properties (e.g. RS, RM, RR, RSE zones) do not permit temporary tourist accommodation use (e.g. nightly rentals).
In addition, employee housing units are not permitted to be rented as temporary tourist accommodation.
A zone must include in its Permitted Use section the defined terms temporary tourist accommodation or a specific clause of permission for a building or dwelling unit to be used for temporary lodging by visitors.
These zones currently permit a principal residential dwelling unit to be used for temporary tourist accommodation.