Business License Required for Renting Nightly
In Whistler, you are required to have a business license to rent out your property for nightly rentals. The following is from the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) site:
“In Whistler, a business license is required for property owners to market, manage and provide paid accommodation to tourists. This applies to all vacation rentals, including self-managed tourist accommodation properties with Phase 1 covenants or without covenants. Any property that is being marketed as tourist accommodation without a business license is considered an illegal nightly rental, and fines are applicable.”
“An individual vacation rental owner marketing and providing their own unit(s) solely through a property manager is covered under the property manager’s license. Owners undertaking any marketing or rental activity independently require a separate business license, whether or not they are also using property management services. “
Prior to 2017 when the regulation of a business license came into effect, there was constant discussion about owners of residential property renting out their property illegally. The biggest complaint came from Bed and Breakfast owners, the hoteliers, and those owners of phase 1 properties who had paid a premium for nightly rental zoning. The complaint was that they were paying taxes and being charged a Tourism Whistler fee to adhere to the rules. It was unfair.
With the advent of portals like Craigs List, VRBO, and Airbnb it became easy for the RMOW to check the advertisements for nightly rental properties and check their zoning. In addition, neighbors in Whistler were, and still are quick to report a suspected nightly rental program in a residential-zoned property.
The result in 2017 was the Tourist Accommodation Regulation Bylaws were written. Since then, if you want to rent out your property nightly you need the zoning. If you have the zoning you have to secure a business license.
Rental Property Manager
When you retain a rental property manager they submit your property to the RMOW to tell them that your property will be under their business license. The RMOW then checks your property on their files to see the status. For example, an owner opened a permit to add a bathroom to their condo. They hired a builder and after the bathroom was installed neither the owner nor the builder closed off the file at the RMOW. The RMOW will not provide that rental manager with anything until the file is closed. In addition, this may involve the RMOW inspecting your property…which is the last thing you want to happen.
When you buy a property zoned for nightly rental to rent out nightly be aware of any unauthorized space. In addition, be aware of any renovations or upgrades done without a permit. This can delay the approval of the business license.
There was a case where not the sellers but the previous owners of a rental unit had added pot lights. The sellers did not know about this addition as it was never disclosed 15 years ago when they bought their strata unit. The RMOW showed up to inspect their unit and there was nothing on the RMOW file to suggest that the RMOW had received both strata approval and RMOW approval to add pot lights. Potlights go into the ceiling which is common property and not owned by the strata lot owner. Therefore, at this stage, the business license was not issued.
Now I don’t know the end of that story, but I will tell you that after 20 years of selling real estate and living in Whistler since 1993, the RMOW is not an organization that will do you any favors. It is all about the fire code, the rules and regulations, and the liability. Therefore, work with an experienced, Whistler realtor who understands how to navigate the RMOW. The law says it is Buyer beware. The listing agent is not responsible for providing you with all the history of a property, that falls on the Buyer’s realtor.
The best resource for this is the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) website on Business Licenses. That page is an essential read for anyone considering the purchase of a property with the intent of nightly rentals.
Buying real estate in Whistler, whether ski-in ski-out or not, is a smooth process when working with an experienced Whistler real estate agent who follows the rules. Everything in real estate, except for writing the contract and the negotiation is a process. Experienced realtor, and skilled negotiator, Marion Anderson will work with you directly from start to finish. No assistants are involved.
If you think I would be a good fit to work with you and your family, and you are not working with a Whistler realtor, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.
It’s a Good Life in Whistler!
Marion Anderson Personal Real Estate Corporation
firstname.lastname@example.org (604) 938-3885
Yes. You can rent it out monthly as a tenanted property. If your home is zoned for nightly rental, you can also rent it out nightly. It is all about the zoning.
Yes. If your home is zoned for nightly rental and you want to self-manage the rentals a business license is required.
The license application will be administered by the property manager and will fall under their license. However, the application will still be reviewed by the RMOW.