How to rent your home on Airbnb in Vancouver

April 3, 2018

Prior to April 2018, rental stays of less than 30 days are not allowed in Vancouver except for in licensed hotels or bed-and-breakfasts in zoned areas. Due to high rents and low vacancy rates, the city has voted to begin allowing short-term rentals.

So if you’re looking to make some extra cash by renting out your home on Airbnb, here’s how to do it by the book.

Am I eligible to rent out my home short-term?

In order to be eligible to rent out your home for short-term guests, you must live in the home yourself for most of the year and it must be a legal suite that meets all building and safety requirements. If you’re a renter or if you’re in a strata, you must have your landlord’s permission or your strata bylaws must allow for short-term rentals.

If you’re still unsure, try this online quiz to see if you’re eligible.

I’m eligible! Now what? Do I need a license?

If you’re eligible to rent out your home, you’ll need a short-term rental business license from the city of Vancouver. This is a new type of business license the city created to regulate short-term rentals. Residents can apply for these licenses online beginning April 18, 2018. Short-term rentals are not permitted before that date.

The license will require a one-time activation fee of $54 and will cost $49 each year.

What sort of safety requirements are there?

To apply for a short-term rental business license, you’ll have to be able to prove your home meets all building and fire safety requirements including:

• A fire plan is posted at all entrances and exits.
• Smoke alarms are installed on every floor and in every bedroom.
• A working fire extinguisher is accessible on every floor.
• If you have gas appliances, you have a carbon monoxide detector installed on every floor.
• If the building has more than three units or 10 occupants, you have a fire alarm system installed.
• You keep inspection and test records and regularly maintain all smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and CO detectors.

That makes sense. Any other requirements as a host?

You’ll have to confirm your home is a legal dwelling and that you follow all city bylaws. You must provide 24/7 contact information, have an insurance policy and assume all liability for any costs or damages that result from short-term rentals. You must make sure there is no unreasonable disturbance or nuisance and restrict parking to your property or where street parking is permitted.

Once I have my license, then what?

If you have successfully applied for and received a business license for short-term rentals in Vancouver, you can begin to list your home for short-term rent on platforms like Airbnb or VRBO. However, you are required to list your business license number on your rental listing. Failing to do so could mean a fine of up to $1,000.

What happens if I don’t meet all the requirements or if I don’t get a license but rent out my home anyway?

As part of the city’s new regulations for short-term rentals, a dedicated enforcement coordinator and additional inspector will be hired to conduct inspections and audits based on complaints that are received.

I’m ready to host! Any advice?

If you’ve never hosted a short-term rental before, be sure to look online for tips and tricks about being a good host. Some easy ways to ensure a good experience include:

• Two sets of bed linen to make the changeover between guests easier and faster.
• A framed and mounted map of your neighbourhood or paper maps on hand for guests.
• A binder with house rules, neighbourhood recommendations and safety information set out in the room.