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  • Projects (Development Services)
  • Short Term Rentals

Short Term Rentals

As a destination community, Sicamous attracts vacationers year-round. In recent years, online services such as Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO) or Airbnb have become popular in residential neighbourhoods as an alternative to traditional tourist accommodation like hotels or motels. However, short-term rentals can have a negative impact on local hotel businesses, the availability of housing, and the residential character of neighborhoods.

As such, Council for the District will be implementing regulations through its Zoning Bylaw to mitigate the negative impacts while supporting a vibrant tourism economy in Sicamous.

What you need to know:

The District anticipates adoption of the proposed Zoning Bylaw 1000, 2022 later this year and amendments to the Business Licensing Bylaw to further regulate short-term rentals.

We encourage you to contact the District if you currently operate a Short-Term Rental to determine your eligibility and licensing requirements to continue operations. 

Short-Term Rentals Engagement

Engagement is ongoing and a number of events have been held to provide residents with an opportunity to ask questions and discuss how changes to the Zoning Bylaw will affect Short-Term Rentals in Sicamous:

July 15, 2022 Open House
June 2022 Brochure Mailout 
July 8, 2021 Online Workshop
July 2, 2021 Open House
June 30, 2021 Open House
June - July 2021 Survey
June 2021 Flyer Mailout

Short-Term Rentals: A Short-Term Rental is the commercial use of a Dwelling Unit by renting it out for periods of less than thirty days as accommodation for tourists, the travelling public, or seasonal residents. A dwelling unit includes single family homes, secondary suites, carriage houses, duplex’, apartments, townhouses, condos, or mobile homes. 

Under the proposed Zoning Bylaw, only certain areas will allow for Short-Term Rentals and they will be subject to specific conditions in order to operate.

Bed & Breakfasts: Homeowners in zones that permit Home-Based Businesses will be able to rent a portion of their Principle Dwelling Unit (i.e. a bedroom) for periods of less than thirty days by operating as a 'Bed & Breakfast' - provided that they have a valid business license. This means the principle use of the property is still residential, and the commercial use of renting it as an accommodation is accessory to the residential use.

Although the current Zoning Bylaw No. 101, 1993 does not explicitly address “short-term rentals”, interpretation does allow for the operation of tourist accommodations in certain areas. With a valid Business License, Short-Term Rentals are permitted in the following zones: C.1, C.2, C.3, C.4A, CDZ.06.

View our map to confirm the zoning of your property.

If you currently operate a short-term rental, please contact the District to determine what you need to continue operating. If your Short-Term Rental is in an area where they are not permitted, the District can advise on the process to request permission, such as through a rezoning application. Each short-term rental will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, factoring the neighbourhood impact of the short-term rental and the ability for the operator to meet the conditions to operate.

The District's proposed Zoning Bylaw No. 1000, 2022 will clearly define and regulate where Short-Term Rentals are permitted and include specific conditions to operate a Short-Term Rental such as the requirement for licensing or occupancy limits. 

The first draft passed First Reading at the August 11, 2021 Regular Council Meeting. Final adoption of Zoning Bylaw No. 1000, 2022 is anticipated this year. Please refer to the Development Services Project page to review the drafted Zoning Bylaw.

Consultation is ongoing during the adoption process and the public is encouraged to provide feedback on the proposed regulations. Please contact the District's Planner, Sarah Martin at smartin@sicamous.ca for more information to provide your input.

Regulations aim to balance the interest in having short-term rentals in our community with measures that protect long-term rentals, limit impacts on neighbouring properties and ensure equality among short-term accommodation providers.

Regulations for Short-Term Rentals will be addressed within Zoning Bylaw No. 1000, 2022. Currently proposed:

  • Requirement for a Business License
  • Provision of Off-Street Parking
  • Requirement for a Local Responsible Person who has authority to make decisions for the property and can attend the premise within one-hour in response to complaints
  • Maximum occupancy limited to 2 adults per bedroom

The District wants to hear from you what you think is important for regulating Short-Term Rentals. Contact the District's Planner, Sarah Martin at smartin@sicamous.ca or 250-836-2477 to provide your feedback.

The District requires all Short-Term Rentals or Bed & Breakfasts to be licensed. By licensing your accommodation and following regulations, you're helping limit negative impacts to the long-term rental market and ensuring your accommodation is a 'good neighbour'. 

To apply for a license or find out more please visit our Business License page or contact the District at 250-836-2477.

The current fee to operate a Short-Term Rental or Bed & Breakfast is $95.

Proposed Fees: License and Inspection Fees reflect the cost of providing the service and seek to create equality amongst short-term accommodation providers. The business license fee is expected to increase as part of the new regulations.

The District wants your feedback on licensing fees. Please contact Development Services at 250-836-5261 or email developmentservices@sicamous.ca

If you are operating a Short-Term Rental, you are required to remit both a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and Municipal Regional District Tax (MRDT) for guest stays.

The District became a participating municipality of MRDT in September of 2020. This tax that applies to all accommodation sales is collected by the Province and directly returned to the District of Sicamous. These funds can only be spent on approved destination marketing, benefitting all accommodation providers by actively marketing Sicamous as a tourist destination. 2021 was the first full year MRDT was collected in Sicamous - over $83,000 was returned to the District in 2021 and was used towards promotional material & targeted ads, website investment and materials such as trail maps and visitor guides.

More information on how PST and MRDT apply to short-term accommodation sales can be found in this notice. Some online platforms, such as Airbnb, may remit PST & MRDT on your behalf; however, it is your responsibility as the operator to ensure that both are remitted for all guest stays. Please direct any questions directly to the Province using the contact information at the end of the notice linked to above. 

We encourage all property owners to be good neighbours.

Bylaw Enforcement seeks voluntary compliance with all District regulations through education and communication. It is a District priority to ensure short-term rental operators comply with all applicable regulations and operators may face fines if compliance efforts require escalation. You may direct any nuisance complaints to Bylaw Enforcement at 250-833-6952 or via email at bylaw@sicamous.ca.

Example Offences:

  • Operating without a valid business license. 
  • Operating contrary to zoning restrictions. 
  • Listing or advertising a short-term rental without displaying a valid business license. 
  • Listing or advertising a short-term rental exceeding approved occupancy limits. 
  • Operating a short-term rental in a home that is not your principal residence (if required by zone). 
  • Operating in an unsafe or nuisance property. 
  • Refusing entry for inspection by a District representative. 

If you're aware of a short-term rental business operating without a licence, contact Development Services at developmentservices@sicamous.ca.

Contact: Sarah Martin, Planner, District of Sicamous

P: (250)836-5261 | E: smartin@sicamous.ca