Vancouver's Home Sharing Registration Process: Frequently Asked Questions
Last updated: 11/26/18
Airbnb recently announced that it would implement a new listing protocol in Vancouver B.C. that makes it easier for hosts to comply with the applicable short-term rental by-law.
Airbnb hosts in Vancouver can add a short-term rental licence number, or claim an exemption directly from the Airbnb website.
The following article provides answers to frequently asked questions about the agreement and implementation process.
What is the current by-law in Vancouver around short-term rentals?
The City of Vancouver defines short-term rentals as rentals that are 30 days or less. As of April 19, 2018, you can only operate a short-term rental in the City of Vancouver if:
- It's in your principal residence, in other words, where you live most of the year and the residential address you use for bills, identification, taxes, and insurance.
- It's a legal dwelling unit (a home with an address that complies with all applicable regulations, including building code and fire safety).
- You have a short-term rental business licence.
- If you're renting, your landlord allows you to sublet your home as a short-term rental.
- If you're in a strata, your strata by-laws support short-term rentals in your building.
You can read more about the requirements for operating a short-term rental on the City of Vancouver's website.
How do I obtain a short-term rental licence?
In order to legally operate a short-term rental, you will need to obtain a short-term rental licence from the City of Vancouver. The process to obtain a licence is fully online and a licence is issued immediately upon completion of the process.
You can apply online for a short-term rental license on the City of Vancouver's website.
Who needs to get a short-term rental licence?
Anyone who meets the by-law requirements for operating a short-term rental and wishes to continue hosting or begin hosting must register for a short-term rental licence.
What do I need to register for a licence?
The City of Vancouver has a full checklist reviewing everything you need to obtain a licence. You can get the checklist here. It includes information on fire/building safety, good neighbour requirements and more.
What is my primary residence?
As per the City of Vancouver, your primary residence is “where you live most of the year and the residential address you use for bills, identification, taxes, and insurance”.
If you have a self-contained suite (also known as secondary suite, basement apartment, granny suite or accessory dwelling unit) in your home, you can only share it for less than 30 days at a time if it is your primary dwelling unit. This includes self-contained basement suites and laneway homes.
If you have a secondary property, you cannot share it for less than 30 days at a time.
My house is old and hardwired interconnected smoke alarms are not possible.
You do not need hardwired smoke alarms in order to have interconnected smoke alarms. Wireless smoke detectors are acceptable as long as they are interconnected. Interconnected smoke alarms mean they speak to each other—if one goes off in the kitchen, every smoke alarm in the house will go off as well. Read more about interconnected smoke alarms.
I have no idea what a fire plan looks like and I am required to post one at the exits in my home. Do you have a template?
The City of Vancouver has provided a great template to help with your fire escape plan. Please refer to the City of Vancouver short-term rental handbook on page three to obtain the template. Read the handbook.
Can I get a licence if I rent my home from someone else?
Provided it is your primary residence, yes, but you will need to attest to the City of Vancouver that you have your landlord’s permission to home share.
I am hosting two private rooms and my whole home when I am away. Do I need a short-term rental licence for each listing?
No. You only need to obtain one short-term rental licence per address, not per listing.
Am I allowed to host at two addresses? How do I get a second licence number to do this?
City of Vancouver rules prohibit hosts from sharing anything more than their primary residence. Hosting at two addresses is not allowed under the current regulatory framework and a licence number is only applicable to one address.
What if I'm hosting long-term guests and/or listing a licensed hotel, bed & breakfast?
If you are hosting long-term guests (31+ days or more), and/or are listing a licensed hotel or bed and breakfast, you do not need to obtain a short-term rental licence. It is likely the City of Vancouver requires a different license for these types of operations. We recommend contacting the City directly via 3-1-1 if you wish to clarify which short-term rental licence is required for long-term, hotel, or bed and breakfast operators.
I am located in a part of Vancouver that is not subject to city by-laws (UBC campus, University Endowed lands, Musqueam territory). Do I need to register for a licence?
No. Only short-term rental listings located on UBC campus, the University Endowed Lands or the Musqueam territory are exempt from this by-law. If you are located in these areas, please claim the exemption on your hosting dashboard under registration.
How do I add a short-term rental licence to my listing?
You can apply for a new short-term rental licence, add an existing short-term rental licence, or claim an exemption by following these steps:
- Go to Your Listings
- Select your listing located in Vancouver
- Click Registration at the top of the page
- You will be shown 3 options (select one of these):
- Apply for a new license (on the City of Vancouver’s website)
- Enter an existing license
- Claim an exemption
What if I've already registered?
If you’ve already registered, please complete the steps above to add your existing short-term rental licence number to your listing.
What if I'm exempt from obtaining a short-term rental licence?
To claim an exemption, follow the steps outlined above under the question, "How do I add a short-term rental licence to my listing?"
How much does it cost to obtain a short-term rental licence?
There is one time fee of $56 and an annual fee of $49. The $49 fee is prorated depending on the time of year you register.
How often do I need to renew my short-term rental licence?
The short-term rental licence expires on December 31st each year, and you will be prompted to renew it at that time. When you are completing the online short-term rental licence application with the City of Vancouver, if you include your email address you will get a reminder to update your short-term rental licence when it is close to expiring.
What information will I be required to submit as part of my short-term rental licence registration to the City of Vancouver?
You must provide the following information:
- Address of the short-term rental
- Attestation that it is your primary residence
- Attestation that it meets all necessary City of Vancouver building requirements
- If you are a renter, attestation that you have your landlord’s permission
- If you live in a strata, attestation that your strata by-laws permit short-term rentals
You can read more about the application for a short-term rental licence on the City of Vancouver's website.
How do I revoke my consent to data sharing?
If you revoke your consent to sharing data with the City of Vancouver, you will be unable to continue hosting (as data sharing is a requirement of hosting). If you would still like to revoke your consent, please contact Airbnb Community Support and explain that you would like to revoke your consent to data sharing as part of Vancouver’s Pass-through Registration flow. The support specialist will remove your listing, note your revocation, and you will not be able to re-list your listing unless you contact us and expressly re-consent to data sharing.
Do I need to renew my short-term rental business licence in Vancouver?
Yes, you’ll need to renew your short-term rental business licence in Vancouver to continue hosting.
I just registered. Do I need to renew?
Yes. Vancouver’s annual business licences for short-term rentals expire after December 31 every year, regardless of when you got your licence.
Will I receive any notification about renewing my licence?
The City of Vancouver sends out renewal notices every year in November. You’ll receive your notification in whichever method you used to registers. We’ll also send you a reminder about your renewal.
How often do I have to renew?
When is the deadline to renew?
Renew every year before December 31 to avoid a late payment penalty.
What happens if I don’t renew after the deadline?
Any renewal payment the City of Vancouver receives after December 31 will incur a late payment penalty. The late payment penalty is the greater of:
- 10% of the licence fee
Will I pay less if I don’t renew until later in the year?
Renewals aren’t prorated. Regardless of when you plan to start hosting guests in the year, you will incur the late payment penalty if you don’t renew on-time. To avoid late payment penalties, please remember to renew by December 31 of the prior year.
You could also face further enforcement from the City for not displaying an updated licence number.
How do I renew my licence?
There are a number of different ways you can renew your licence:
- By mail
How do I renew online?
The fastest way to renew is online. You’ll need to complete your renewal with Vancouver, then update your listings on Airbnb.
Complete renewal with Vancouver’s online form:
- Enter your existing short-term rental business licence number
- Confirm or edit your Contact Information
- Confirm or edit your Billing Information
- Complete your business licence renewal fee of $51CDN online
After you submit payment, you should be able to print out your new licence.
How do I renew by mail?
Pay by cheque or money order issued to the City of Vancouver.
Note: Credit card cheques are not accepted.
Send your payment and renewal notice to the following mailing address:
Revenue Services, PO Box 7878, Vancouver, BC V6B 4E2
Processing times for mail renewal may vary, but you can typically expect:
- 2-4 weeks if you renew between March and October
- 8-10 weeks if you renew between November and February
If you plan on renewing by mail, it’s generally a good idea to renew earlier to make sure you’ll have your licence number in time for the following year.
How do I renew in-person?
If all of your information has remained the same (including contact information, billing, and licence number) you can go to the following address:
Revenue Services, 453 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4, Canada
Hours: M-F, 8:30am-5pm
If any of your details have changed, you’ll need to update them and pay at the following address:
Building and Development Services Centre, 515 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4A8, Canada
Hours: M/W/F, 8:30am-4:30pm; T/Th 8:30am-4:00pm
Both locations can accept payment and issue your new registration number.
Accepted payment methods include cash, debit card, credit card, cheque, or money order. If you use a cheque or money order, you’ll need to make it payable to the City of Vancouver.
Note: You can usually expect a long line from November to February during our busy times.
What do I need to do after I renew my licence with the City of Vancouver?
Your business licence number will be different every year, so you’ll need to update your licence number on your listing page after every renewal to complete the process.
Update your listings on Airbnb after you receive your new licence number:
- Log in to your Airbnb host account
- Click Host > Listings > Registration
- Enter your new registration number
- Click Submit
How much does it cost to renew my licence?
The annual fee to renew your licence is $51CDN.
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