summerland-downtown1
Planning & Building

Short-Term Rental Regulation 

Project Description

The District will be undertaking a review on its short-term rentals (i.e. “vacation rentals” or “tourist rentals”) policy. This project will propose a new regulatory framework for short term rentals in recognition that short term rentals are not currently permitted in the zoning bylaw but are currently operating within the community.

What are short-term rentals?

Short-term rentals are a type of temporary accommodation and are currently undefined by the District of Summerland.  There is no set definition as to what a “short-term rental” is and there are varying definitions and terms throughout jurisdictions.  Some also refer to short-term rentals (STRs) as vacation rentals, tourist accommodation, and seasonal use accommodation. 

Other jurisdictions around the world, and throughout British Columbia, have responded to the advent of the “home-sharing” industry through online booking platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway in a variety of ways.

The “home-sharing” industry offers a variety of accommodation options to potential users.  This includes renting an entire home, part of a home (like a suite) or a room in a home.  The type of homes being listed for short-term rentals are not limited to a single detached dwellings.  It could also appear in the form of a duplex unit, secondary suite, carriage house, apartment unit, townhouse or alternative unit (i.e. glamping tent, treehouse).

Although there is a wide range of accommodation types, there are some commonalities between short-term rentals that help shape the definitions:

  • Use of a residential unit (not a commercial unit like a hotel)
  • Paying guest (a commercial venture)
  • Guests staying on a temporary basis (commonly defined as less than a month (or 28 days) at a time)
  • Catering to tourists (guests live elsewhere and are renting on a nightly or weekly basis, not as a residential tenure)

Short-term rentals are not currently defined in the District’s Zoning Bylaw but are generally defined as private, residential dwellings (or parts of dwellings) that are rented on a temporary basis (generally less than 28 days).  Short-term rentals are generally marketed to tourists or visitors and charge a daily or weekly rate (this is different from a long-term rental where there is a residential tenure). 

What is the current status of short-term rentals?

The District of Summerland Zoning Bylaw does not explicitly address “short-term rentals”.  Although not explicit, the use of a “dwelling” for short-term rental is not a customary residential use, and “short-term rentals” are not a permitted use in any zone.  Any type of residential housing (single detached, duplex, cluster, apartment, townhouse, etc.) rented to the travelling public is seen as a bylaw contravention (with the exception of a Bed & Breakfast Home). 

The District will be undertaking community engagement over the upcoming months to obtain feedback on a draft framework.

How is a Bed & Breakfast different from a short-term rental?

A Bed & Breakfast home is a permitted secondary use in agricultural, rural residential, and urban residential in the Summerland Zoning Bylaw where rooms within a single detached home are rented out to guests.  There are regulations that limit this use, including that the operator must be a live-in resident and no more than 4 bedrooms and 8 guests are allowed.  This is considered a separate use than a short-term rental and no changes to the Bed & Breakfast policies are being proposed at this time.

Short-term rentals, in comparison, are often whole unit rentals (not individual bedrooms) and generally the operator is not within the unit or on the premises during the guest’s stay. 

What will happen next?

We will be reaching out to the community in September and October to obtain feedback on the draft bylaw and to hear from you.  Stay tuned for opportunities to participate, including an upcoming survey and open house! See our updates from the August 23, 2021 council meeting below.
Short Term Rental Regulatory Approach
Presentation Slides

If you have any questions about this project, please contact JoAnn Peachey, Planner II, at 250-404-4097 or jpeachey@summerland.ca.