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Short Term Rentals

Proposed Bylaw Amendment to Allow Short Term Rentals in Sidney

A Public Hearing on the proposed bylaw is scheduled for September 24, 2018 at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers at Sidney Town Hall.

Please read through this page to learn more about the proposed Zoning Bylaw amendment to regulate Short Term Rentals in Sidney. Please submit any questions or comments you have by September 18, 2018. Mayor and Council will review any public feedback at a Public Hearing scheduled for September 24, 2018 at 7:00 pm. Anyone wishing to directly address Mayor and Council on this issue may write to the Town before the public hearing, or speak at the public hearing itself. Correspondence can be mailed to the Town at 2440 Sidney Avenue, V8L 1Y7 or emailed to admin@sidney.ca.

The Town of Sidney is considering adopting a Zoning Bylaw amendment to regulate short-term rentals (STR) within the town. The past decade has seen substantial growth in the STR market, along with the companies that service this market, such as Airbnb, Homeaway, Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) and other online platforms. Despite not being currently permitted in Sidney, as in other communities there has been rapid growth in the number of units being offered for rent.

Following Council’s direction, staff have brought forward a bylaw to regulate STRs within the Town of Sidney. On Monday, August 13, 2018 the proposed bylaw received first and second readings at the regular Council meeting. The next step is for Council to hold a public hearing and consider final adoption of the bylaw. Council has directed staff to provide information to the public on the proposed bylaw in preparation for the public hearing.

If adopted, the draft bylaw would allow STR in most residential properties in Sidney, provided the following requirements are met:

  1. Only one (1) STR is permitted per property.
  2. The property (i.e. single-family dwelling, condo, etc.) must be continuously occupied by a permanent resident, whether it be the owner or a tenant.
  3. STR is not permitted on properties that have a secondary suite or other secondary dwelling unit occupied by a long-term tenant (however, the secondary dwelling unit may be used for STR if not occupied by a long-term tenant).
  4. STR is not permitted on properties that have an active residential boarding or bed and breakfast use.
  5. No more than two bedrooms in a dwelling unit may be used for a STR.
  6. A bedroom in a STR may not have separate or additional cooking facilities.

For more information on how STRs will be regulated in Sidney, a list of commonly asked questions and answers is provided below.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is a Short Term Rental (STR)?

STR refers to the commercial rental of a dwelling unit (i.e. single-family home, condo, townhouse, etc.) which provides accommodation for a period of less than 31 days to the travelling public. Typically bookings are made through the internet, on websites such as Airbnb, Homeaway and Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO).

2.  Why regulate STRs?

Due to the extremely low rental vacancy rate in Greater Victoria and Sidney in particular, it is likely that the use of dwelling units for STRs are affecting the availability and affordability of long-term rental units. However, homeowners who may have extra empty bedrooms in their home, or wish to rent out their home while they themselves are on vacation would have less impact on the availability of long-term rental units.

3.  Where in Sidney will STRs be allowed?

The bylaw proposes to allow STRs within the areas designated as Neighbourhood Residential (RES-1), Intensive Single-Family Residential (RES-2), Multi-Family Residential (RES-3) and Downtown Commercial (COM-1) in Schedule C of the Town of Sidney Official Community Plan (see OCP map here). This makes up most residential areas in Sidney. In addition, STRs would be permitted in the Galaran residential neighbourhood adjacent to the Sidney Industrial Park.

4.  Will STRs be permitted within my condo or townhouse unit?

While Sidney’s bylaw regulations would allow STRs to operate within a condo, apartment or townhouse, the owner or Strata Council for the building would have the final say on whether to allow this. Condo owners should consult their building’s strata bylaws, while long-term tenants who wish to operate a STR should contact their unit’s owner or consult their tenancy agreement to confirm that they are permitted to operate a STR. It is your responsibility to ensure that a STR complies with all strata bylaws, in addition to Town of Sidney bylaws.

5.  Are there any conditions for operating a STR?

In addition to the permitted locations for operating a STR mentioned above, the following regulations would apply if the bylaw is adopted as proposed:

  1. No more than one (1) STR is permitted per lot or strata lot;
  2. The lot or strata lot in which the STR use is located is continuously occupied by a permanent resident, whether it be the owner or a tenant who has a valid and subsisting tenancy agreement;
  3. A STR is not permitted on a lot or strata lot where any of the following are located on the same lot: a secondary suite or detached secondary dwelling occupied by a long-term tenant, or an active boarding or bed and breakfast use;
  4. No more than two bedrooms in a dwelling unit shall be used for the purposes of a STR; and
  5. No separate or additional cooking facilities or other such facilities for the keeping or preparation of food are provided within any bedroom intended for STR use.

6.  How long can a renter stay in my home?

A renter may stay in an STR for a period of up to 31 days.

7.  Can I keep my STR if it is already established in a non-permitted area?

No. Existing STRs located outside of a permitted area will not be permitted to continue operation under the proposed bylaw.

8.  Do I require a business license or permit to operate a STR?

No. A business license or permit will not be required to operate a STR.

9.  Are there any fees required for operating a STR?

The Town of Sidney will not charge any fees to open or operate a STR. It should be noted that operators of a STR may be subject to provincial or federal taxes based upon income earned from their STR operation.

10.  Am I required to provide additional parking for my STR?

Property owners will not be required to provide any additional parking for STR guests. However, STRs located in buildings with strata bylaws should consult their strata council.

11.  What happens next?

Please submit any questions or comments you have by September 18, 2018. Mayor and Council will review any public feedback at a public hearing scheduled for September 24, 2018 at 7:00 pm. Anyone wishing to directly address Mayor and Council on this issue may write to the Town before the public hearing, or speak at the public hearing itself.

12.  Who can I contact if I have comments or questions?

If you have any comments or questions about STRs or the regulations proposed above, you may contact the Town of Sidney Development Services Department by email: DevelopmentServices@sidney.ca, or by phone: 250-656-1725.