Short-term rentals — with guests staying in private residences, like Airbnb and Vrbo — have increased in popularity throughout the region over the past few years.
Now, new rules around the accommodation of paying guests in an entire single family dwelling, room(s) within a single family dwelling, secondary suite, apartment or condo for less than 30 days will come into effect this fall, following the adopting of a regional short term rental policy by the Regional District of East Kootenay.
The RDEK Board of Directors has adopted the Short Term Rental (STR) Policy, which will provide guidance for the implementation of Temporary Use Permits as the RDEK moves toward regulating STRs within its six Electoral Areas.
“Staff has been working on the draft policy since earlier this spring and in addition to consultation with STR operators and other groups in the region, there have been two separate public comment periods to gather as much feedback from the public as possible to help inform the policy direction,” said RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay. “The Board recognizes the importance of regulating STRs within the rural parts of the RDEK and adoption of this policy will move us one step closer to achieving that goal.”
The Board requested two key changes related to maximum density and fees. The Board has set the maximum number of guests for overnight accommodation to 10. Anyone wishing to apply for a higher density would need the Board’s approval. The Board is also recommending fees for applications that can be delegated to staff for approval be set at $1000 for the three year period, while fees for applications that cannot be delegated to staff and must go to the Board be set at $2,000. The Development Application Bylaw (which will set the fees) and the Delegation Bylaw will both require amendment and will likely come forward for consideration by the Board in September.
“The adoption of the policy is an important step in the process, as it provides guidance and direction,” Gay said. “There are still several milestones that need to be achieved prior to the RDEK being able to accept applications and staff will now begin working on those next steps.” adds Gay.
This includes developing guidelines around compliance and enforcement; establishing the application process, which will include everything from creation of the application forms to a comprehensive education and awareness campaign; and, establishing the procedures for internal review.
The intake for Short Term Rental Temporary Use permits is anticipated to begin in the Fall of this year.