On Tuesday, July 26, 2022, new bylaws regulating the operation of Residential Guest Accommodations (RGAs) were adopted by Council.
A summary of the new RGA regulations has been developed to help the community understand the new bylaws. Any property owner who would like to provide a dwelling unit as a Residential Guest Accommodation should read the summary document (below) in order to understand the new regulations and determine whether your dwelling unit will require a business licence (Stream 1) or a business licence and a Temporary Use Permit (Stream 2). Staff from the Planning & Development department are also available to help you understand the new regulations.
What Is A “Dwelling Unit”?
When reading the Town’s RGA guidelines, it is important to understand that a “dwelling unit” means a self-contained room or set of rooms, with a private entrance, that is designed and intended to be occupied as a residence, and includes, at a minimum, separate and distinct sleeping, sanitary and cooking facilities.
A house that contains a primary space, plus a self-contained basement suite or a garden suite has 2 dwelling units.
Which Operating Stream Applies to Me?
The new bylaws create two “streams” of permittable RGA.
Stream 1 is for dwelling units that have a principal resident (i.e someone who lives there at least nine consecutive months of the year). Stream 1 allows you to rent the entire dwelling unit for a maximum of 3 consecutive months in a calendar year OR to rent up to two bedrooms within the dwelling unit year-round (i.e. the traditional Bed & Breakfast model.) You must be present during this second type of guest stay.
*A person cannot have more than one principal residence and a principal residence cannot include more than one dwelling unit.
Business licence applications for Stream 1 RGAs will be accepted anytime.
Stream 2 is for dwelling units where no one permanently resides. This could be an entire house or apartment, a secondary suite attached to your principal residence, or a garden suite located on your property. Permission to operate within Stream 2 will be granted to a limited number of units under a Temporary Use Permit (TUP), with the category phased out gradually over the next two to five years. TUPs will be valid for 2 years, and may be renewed once for a period of 1-3 years, based on Council review. Preference will be given to dwelling units in or near the Harbour area and Lower Gibsons.
*Please note that a secondary suite or garden suite must be a legal, permitted rental unit before it can be used as an RGA.
- To apply for a secondary suite within your home, you will need a Building Permit.
- For information about how to legitimize the use of an accessory building as a garden suite, please contact the Planning Department and/or refer to the Garden Suite Development Guide.
Business licence applications and Temporary Use Permit applications for the first intake of Stream 2 RGAs will be accepted until October 3, 2022. Applications will continue to be accepted after October 3rd, but we cannot guarantee they will be processed by January 1, 2023, when enforcement of the new bylaws will begin.
Applying for a Business Licence to Operate an RGA – Stream 1 and Stream 2
Both Stream 1 and Stream 2 RGA operators require a business license. You must submit a new business licence application, even if you have previously held a business licence for your rental unit.
Three types of annual business licences will be available for RGA:
- Stream 1 – Principal Residence RGA (Entire Dwelling Unit) – limited to three (3) consecutive calendar months in a calendar year
- Stream 1 – Principal Residence RGA (Partial Dwelling Unit) – permitted year-round but limited to no more than 2 bedrooms within the dwelling unit
- Stream 2 – Non-Principal Residence RGA – permitted in association with a limited number of Temporary Use Permits
Operators will require a separate business licence for each subtype of RGA they wish to operate.
For Stream 1 (i.e. principal residence) applicants, there will be a one-time application fee of $400, plus an annual business licence fee of $200.
For Stream 2 (i.e. non-principal residence) applicants, there will be a one-time application fee of $1500 for the Temporary Use Permit, plus an annual business licence fee of $2,000. (The business licence fee only becomes payable once the TUP has been granted.)
Business Licence and related application forms
Residential Guest Accommodation Business Licence Application Form 2023 – Fillable
Residential Guest Accommodation Guest Safety Attestation and Evacuation plan
Residential Guest Accommodation Parking Plan 2022 – Fillable
Residential Guest Accommodation Strata Consent Form 2022 – Fillable
Residential Guest Accommodation Owner consent form
Gibsons bylaw staff will perform a site visit before granting a business licence for every RGA, in order to verify the submitted information and to answer any questions
How to Obtain A Copy of Your Property Title (Required)
All RGA applications require a copy of your Property Title. There are 2 ways to obtain this:
- Search the title yourself through the BC Land Titles Office: Search for a Title – LTSA. A small fee applies.
- Have the Town request the title on your behalf. This requires a payment of $20 when you are submitting your RGA application. The fee can be paid by cash or debit at the front desk, or by providing a cheque made out to the Town of Gibsons, with the subject line specifying “Title search for RGA application”.
Advertising – Business Licence Number Must Be Included
Marketing or offering an RGA for rent is not permitted unless the operator holds a valid Town of Gibsons business licence and the licence number is included in all ads. This regulation applies to physical ads and listings on online marketing platforms such as Airbnb or VRBO, and is designed to simplify enforcement of the new RGA bylaws.
Applying for a Temporary Use Permit to Operate an RGA – Stream 2 (Non-Principal Residence RGA Operators)
Only Stream 2 RGA operators require a Temporary Use Permit.
As noted above, there is a non-refundable $1500 fee to submit an application for a Temporary Use Permit.
TUPs are valid for 2 years, and may be renewed once for a period of 1-3 years, based on Council review. TUPs are granted once they are approved by Council.
Stream 2 RGA applicants should submit their Temporary Use Permit application and business licence application before October 3, 2022 if possible*. This will give Town staff and Council enough time to review each application and determine whether or not to grant a Temporary Use Permit. Approved TUPs for the initial intake applicants will be issued before the end of 2022, with enforcement of the new bylaws beginning on January 1, 2023.
*Applications may still be submitted after October 3rd, however they may not be processed by January 1, 2023.