What you need to know about Short Term Rentals (AirBnB, VRBO etc)!
What is a Short Term Rental (STR)?
STRs, like AirB&B or VRBO, are the newest accommodation phenomena to hit the global market and offer an alternative option to hotel and hostel stays. In the STR format, you can rent a shared space, a private room or an entire home and delve into the personal experience of really “living” in a new city or country like a local.
Is STR legal in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country and Peachland?
Currently STR is permitted, with the appropriate business licenses and zoning, in three of the four cities of the central Okanagan. Kelowna, West Kelowna, and the District of Lake Country all permit STRs, however the City of Peachland has yet to make any bylaw adjustments and thus, it remains illegal to operate a STR in the City of Peachland… for now.
What type of dwelling can you use for a STR?
The City of Kelowna has recently legalized STR so long as you obtain a business license to operate your own business and so long as that STR is within your principal residence (NOT a secondary suite or carriage house). *
The District of Lake Country has followed a similar path of only permitting STR within a principal dwelling and not an accessory building, like a carriage house or trailer etc. Their website summary is unclear on whether or not secondary suites within a principal dwelling would be permitted to be rented as a STR.**
The City of West Kelowna, however, has adopted an even more progressive bylaw that allows for STRs within your own principal residence, a secondary suite or a carriage house.***
Should I try STRs?
Now, the big question on a lot of peoples’ minds can be more of a comfort vs financial dilemma query.
“Should I jump in to the short-term, vacation-rental business?”
The answer is… “It depends!”
It depends on several factors that you will have to answer for yourself:
a. Do you like/are you comfortable with strangers in your home?
b. Do you have the time to manage bookings/cleanings/check-ins/outs etc?
c. Do you need the rental income?
d. Do you really WANT to do STRs?
If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, then I think you would be a fair candidate to consider trying it out. If you don’t like it, you can always just stop!
Hope this helps answer some of the FAQs around STRs and if you have further questions, reach out to me to ask, I would be happy to help with your real estate needs.
*There are other stipulations such as strata and zoning bylaws that must be confirmed prior to engaging in STRs, which can be found in the operators guidebook: https://www.kelowna.ca/sites/files/1/docs/related/short-term_rental_operators_guidebook.pdf
**You can read up on the District of Lake Countries STR policies here: https://www.lakecountry.bc.ca/en/news/you-asked-short-term-vacation-rentals-what-do-i-need-to-know.aspx
***Similarly, the City of West Kelowna does have other stipulations and requirements for legal operation of an AirBnb, which can be found here: https://www.westkelownacity.ca/en/our-community/resources/Documents/STA-Operator-Guidebook.pdf