Current Status of Short Term Rental Bylaw Amendments
On September 28, 2021, a Special Committee of the Whole was held in order to conduct a workshop with Council on Short Term Rentals. The objective of the workshop was to review and prioritize Council’s goals for regulating short-term rentals in order to provide direction on how to proceed with amending the Town’s related regulations.
During the course of the workshop, Council determined that its goals in developing short-term rentals regulations (in order of priority) are:
- Retaining long-term rental supply in Gibsons
- Keeping the scale of business appropriate to residential neighbourhoods
- Responding to the needs of homeowners who wish to have added revenue/flexibility
- Providing tourist with accommodation options for renting/staying in Gibsons
Next steps include reviewing the proposed STR bylaw as it currently stands to determine whether it aligns with Council’s priorities, as listed above.
The bylaw would then be repealed (if it no longer aligns with Council’s goals) or amended (if it largely aligns with Council’s goals).
Staff is recommending that a second Public Hearing be held before a Third Reading and Adoption of the bylaw, as nearly a year has passed since the first Public Hearing on the topic.
Short-term rentals (STRs) are widely defined as the rental of a dwelling (house, town house, condominium, apartment, and secondary suites) for less than 30 days. These are typically advertised through online venues such as Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway.com, Flipkey.com and others.
To operate a short-term rental in the Town of Gibsons, operators will be required to obtain an annual business license, at a fee of $200 per year.
At present, the Town does not regulate short-term rentals, beyond Bed and Breakfast (B&B) and tourist accommodation use. However, we believe that added clarity around the regulation of these businesses would benefit both residents and operators. As a result, the Town is currently considering regulations that aim to:
- Respond to the needs of homeowners who wish to have added revenue;
- Provide tourists with accommodation options for staying in and visiting Gibsons; and
- Keep the scale of businesses appropriate to residential neighbourhoods.
Council is currently considering the adoption of three bylaw amendments related to short-term rentals: Bylaw No 1065-47, 2020, Business License Amendment Bylaw No 666-10, 2020 and Notice of Enforcement Amendment Bylaw No 1125-07, 2020.
In light of the recent release of the Sunshine Coast Housing Needs Assessment Report, Council voted at the Regular Council Meeting held on October 6, 2020, to send the Short Term Rental Bylaw back to the Planning and Development Committee (PDC) for further discussion. See related Staff Report here.
At the Council meeting held on November 17, 2020, staff was asked to bring forward a report to the PDC which would explore the impact of the following amendments to the proposed Bylaw, regarding unhosted STRs:
- Only one unhosted STR per owner
- The unhosted STR operator must be a resident of Gibsons
- Unhosted STRs can only be rented for a total of 60 days each year
- Unhosted STRs are permitted in all commercial zones in the lower village
- Principle residences could be utilized as unhosted STRs for a total of 60 days each year.
Short-Term Rental Regulations: History of Development
On May 5, 2020, staff presented three STR-related bylaws for consideration and were directed by Council to seek a legal review of the amendments prior to first and second readings. Key changes to the STR regulations would include:
- Merging B&BS with STRS;
- Requiring a property owner or authorized operator to be on-site during a guest stay;
- Enhanced business license requirements; and
- Increased fines for certain violations.
On June 16, 2020, Council accepted staff recommendations that:
The report titled Short-Term Rental Bylaws for Consideration be received; and that Council gives the following bylaws First and Second Readings: 1. Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 1065-47, 2020; and that Council gives the following bylaws First, Second, and Third Readings: 2. Business License Amendment Bylaw No. 666-10, 2020; 3. Notice of Enforcement Amendment Bylaw No. 1125-07, 2020; and further that an electronic Public Hearing be scheduled to begin at 5:30 pm on July 14, 2020, as authorized under Ministerial Order M139/2020 and in accordance with Section 465(3) of the Local Government Act.
On June 24, 2020, Council set a Virtual Public Hearing to accept comment from the public on the above noted bylaws for Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 5:30pm.
Virtual Public Hearings were conducted on Tuesday, July 14th and July 21st.
At these meetings, Council heard from the public on three bylaw amendments related to short-term rentals, including Bylaw No 1065-47, 2020, Business License Amendment Bylaw No 666-10, 2020 and Notice of Enforcement Amendment Bylaw No 1125-07, 2020.
Following the Virtual Public Hearing on July 21st, Council chose to defer making a decision on adoption of the bylaws until the Regular Council Meeting to be held on September 1, 2020.
For answers to your most Frequently Asked Questions about the proposed STR regulations, please review this Fact Sheet.
For a summary of the differences between STRs and B&Bs under the proposed regulations, please click here.
In July 2019, the Town Planning & Development Committee first considered regulations for short-term rentals. To read the related background report, follow this link.
Thank you to all who took the time to share their insights and provide the Town with feedback on the short-term rental regulations under consideration. Public input was collected from October 11 to November 1, 2019 and consisted of the following methods:
- online survey: accessed from the Town website – 70 surveys submitted
- small group discussions: 2-hour meetings held October 22nd and 23rd. A total of 23 participants provided insights and heard other participant’s perspectives in these meetings.
- open house hosted October 22nd from 6:30pm to 8pm – 3 people attended
- Residents and short-term rental operators were also invited to submit letters, emails and other forms of input that best suited them. Three followup emails/letters were submitted as of November 5th.
On December 3, 2019, a Staff Report and the Consultant’s report were presented to Council. Read the reports here.
Subsequently, Council passed the following resolution: R2019-385 – That staff refine and revise bylaws, to implement short-term rental accommodation regulations and licensing using hosted short-term rental regulations; And that un-hosted short-term rental accommodation regulations and licensing be deferred until after completion of the Sunshine Coast Housing Needs Assessment.