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City signs first MOU in Canada with Airbnb for short-term rentals

April 11 2018

“Our agreement with Airbnb is a key step towards promoting compliance with our new short-term rental program, and we are very pleased to be working with them to help ensure all Vancouver listings on Airbnb are licensed.”

Short-term rental announcement - left to right: Alex Dagg, Director Public Policy, Airbnb; Mayor Gregor Robertson; Kaye Krishna, GM, Development, Buildings, and Licencing; Kathryn Holm, Chief Licence Inspector

The City of Vancouver and online accommodation platform Airbnb have reached an agreement that supports the implementation of Vancouver’s new short-term rental regulations, which are slated to be enacted by Council next week. 

Agreement with Airbnb

As part of the agreement, Airbnb will require hosts in Vancouver to update their short-term rental listings to display a business licence.

Beginning April 19, Airbnb will include a field for all hosts to list their short-term rental business licence.

New hosts will be required to include a business licence as part of their profile before they can post or rent their unit.

Existing hosts have until August 31 to obtain a short-term rental business licence from the City and include it on their online listings.

After August 31, Airbnb will deactivate existing listings that do not include a business licence. Operators can reactivate their listing once they have obtained and entered in the licence number to the platform.  

Apply online starting April 19

As of April 2018, the City estimates there are approximately 6,600 short-term listings in Vancouver, and Airbnb represents over 88% of the Vancouver market.

Starting April 19, owners and renters in Vancouver can apply online for a business licence to operate short-term rentals from their principal residence.

“Vancouver is doing more than any other city in Canada to tackle housing affordability, and this new agreement with Airbnb—the first of its kind in Canada—is another way we’re making sure that our housing functions first and foremost as homes for people who live and work in Vancouver,” said Mayor Robertson. “The City’s new short-term rental regulations strike a fair balance for Vancouver residents who rely on income from short-term rentals to help make ends meet, while also recognizing that our first priority has to be making sure that Vancouverites have a secure and affordable place to call home.” 

"Airbnb is proud to have partnered with the City of Vancouver on this landmark agreement for Canada," said Alex Dagg, Director of Public Policy for Airbnb. "This new system will make home sharing easier for Vancouverites and give the City the tools it needs to enforce their regulations."

Ensuring compliance

To help ensure compliance with the City’s new short-term rental regulations, Airbnb will provide a list of all Vancouver licences and associated addresses that short-term rent via their platform to the City on a quarterly basis. The City’s enforcement team will then cross-reference it with their licensing records to identify any illegal operators.

Existing and new Airbnb hosts will be required to grant permission for Airbnb to share information with the City before they can list their rental. 

“Vancouver is leading the way in finding balanced solutions to support short-term rentals,” said Kaye Krishna, General Manager of Development, Buildings and Licensing. “Our agreement with Airbnb is a key step towards promoting compliance with our new short-term rental program, and we are very pleased to be working with them to help ensure all Vancouver listings on Airbnb are licensed.”

The City is in active conversations with other listing platforms to develop similar agreements for compliance with the new bylaws. 

Check if you're eligible to short-term rent 

On November 14, 2017, City Council approved regulations to allow Vancouver residents to rent their principal residence on a short-term basis. City Council is expected to enact these new bylaws next week. Residents can apply for their business licence starting April 19.

In preparation for applying online for their licence, existing and potential operators can review the requirements checklist and determine if they are eligible to short-term rent their home.

Learn more

Quick facts

  • Starting April 19, short-term rentals for stays of less than 30 days will be legal in Vancouver.
  • Short-term rentals will only be allowed in a principal residence, where the operator resides for more than 180 days of the year and receives mail. 
  • A short-term rental must be licensed before it can be advertised or rented.
  • Starting April 19, Airbnb will include a field for all hosts to list their short-term rental business licence.
  • New Airbnb hosts will be required to obtain a City business licence before they can rent or advertise their short-term-rental listing in Vancouver.
  • Existing Airbnb hosts have until August 31 to obtain a short-term rental licence and enter it in their listing, after which point they will be removed from the platform if they don’t include a licence. 
  • Residents who qualify to operate a short-term rental in their principle residence will have until August 31st to prepare for and obtain a business licence and post the licence in their online short-term listings on any platform. 
  • As of September 1, 2018, anyone listing a short-term rental without a business licence will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 per day and potentially legal action. 
  • Commercial operators or other properties that do not qualify for the short-term rental business licence program will be subject to these new fines effective April 19. 

Read the technical briefing  (1 MB)