Short Term Rentals
Update - May 2020
Town of Sidney Council is considering an amendment to Zoning Bylaw No. 2015 that would remove “Short Term Rental” as a permitted use in the bylaw, as well as require zoning approval for the opening of any new Bed & Breakfast businesses in Sidney. If adopted, the proposed amendment will effectively prohibit residents from renting out their residence, a portion of their residence, or a secondary dwelling unit on their property (e.g. a secondary suite) for periods of less than 31 days to the traveling public. This includes renting space through online platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, etc.
This proposed bylaw amendment will not affect the following:
- Dwelling units where “Hotel” is also a permitted use.
- The long-term rental of a dwelling unit for a period of 31 days or more (in which case the requirements of the Residential Tenancy Act would apply).
- Existing permitted Bed & Breakfast businesses.
A public hearing on this amending bylaw is scheduled for the regular Council meeting on Monday, June 22, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. Please see the Public Hearing Notice below for further information on making a submission regarding the bylaw or if you would like to view or speak at the public hearing. Further information on the proposed bylaw can be found in the accompanying staff report, also linked below.
Operating a Short Term Rental in Sidney
The Town of Sidney has adopted Bylaw No. 2163, a Zoning Amendment Bylaw 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.
Following Council’s direction, staff brought forward a bylaw to regulate STRs within the Town of Sidney. After a period of public outreach and a public hearing, Council adopted the bylaw on September 24, 2018.
The bylaw allows STR in most residential properties in Sidney, provided the following requirements are met:
- Only one (1) STR is permitted per property.
- 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.
- 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).
- STR is not permitted on properties that have an active residential boarding or bed and breakfast use.
- No more than two bedrooms in a dwelling unit may be used for a STR.
- A bedroom in a STR may not have separate or additional cooking facilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
For more information on how STRs are regulated in Sidney, a list of commonly asked questions and answers is provided below.
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 are STRs allowed?
The bylaw allows 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 are permitted in the Galaran residential neighbourhood adjacent to the Sidney Industrial Park.
4. Are STRs permitted within my condo or townhouse unit?
While Sidney’s bylaw regulations allow STRs to operate within a condo, apartment or townhouse, the owner or Strata Council for the building 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 apply:
- No more than one (1) STR is permitted per lot or strata lot;
- 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;
- 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;
- No more than two bedrooms in a dwelling unit shall be used for the purposes of a STR; and
- 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 are not be permitted to continue operation under the bylaw.
8. Do I require a business license or permit to operate a STR?
No. A business license or permit is not be required to operate a STR.
9. Are there any fees required for operating a STR?
The Town of Sidney does 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 are not required to provide any additional parking for STR guests. However, STRs located in buildings with strata bylaws should consult their strata council.
11. Who can I contact if I have comments or questions?
If you have any comments or questions about STRs or the regulations outlined above, you may contact the Town of Sidney Development Services Department by email: DevelopmentServices@sidney.ca, or by phone: 250-656-1725.