On this page you will find the following:
- What is a Short Term Rental?
- Where are STRs Permitted?
- What are the Rules?
- What is Being Done to Enforce the Rules?
- How do I Get a Business Licence?
Short-Term Rentals and Vacation Rentals are terms that are used interchangeably. From a land-use and zoning perspective, they are commercial uses rather than residential uses. Short-term rentals are defined as rentals for a period of less than one month.
The District of Tofino Zoning Bylaw defines the terms as follows:
- Short-Term Rental means temporary accommodation use located in a secondary suite, caretaker cottage, or principal residence.
- Bed and Breakfast means a business located in a single family dwelling that provides temporary accommodation to the travelling public and includes the provision of breakfast by the owner/occupant.
Short-term rentals are allowed in the R1, R4, RA1, RA2, RA3, A1, A2, A3, A4, and CD(EL) zones, as well as the Fred Tibbs condos.
To find the zoning of a particular property, use our GIS Portal.
Regulations regarding Short Term Rentals are found in two Bylaws:
This Bylaw requires owners or operators of buisnesses to hold valid business licences, sets the licence fees and establishes different regulations for different classes of business.
*NEW* An amendment passed at the December 14th, 2017 Council meeting requires owners or operators of tourist accommodation businesses to display their valid District of Tofino business licence number on any marketing, advertisements or promotions for the business. (Bylaw No. 858.09, 2017)
Since 2016, District of Tofino Council has authorized a proactive approach to enforcement of unlawful short-term rentals. This means that staff are actively enforcing compliance in this sector through inspections and investigations.
The Enforcement Process:
District staff gather information about existing short-term rentals in Tofino using “Host Compliance” software. "Host Compliance" allows staff to find current and past advertisements of short term rentals listed on a variety of online platforms using proprietary software and methods. Staff’s review of the listings indicates that there are several categories of non-compliance:
- Short-term rentals offered and occurring where there is no business license;
- Short-term rentals offered and occurring where not permitted by zoning:
- Short-term rentals offered where there is no primary resident;
- Multiple short-term rentals offered and occurring where only a single short-term rental is permitted.
- Send letters to every property owner in Tofino outlining what is permitted and prohibited for short-term rentals as well as the District’s plans for moving toward proactive enforcement. (July 2016 Letter)
- Amend short-term rental business license fees to meet enforcement costs. (Bylaw No. 858.08)
- Dedicate more resources to allow for direct and proactive enforcement. (Business Licence Inspector)
- Using Host Compliance and onsite inspections, prepare a list of vacation rentals that are in compliance with District bylaws and compare against information of known short-term rentals. (See List Below)
- Contact observed non-compliant property owners.
- Increase enforcement activity on non-compliant properties that includes:
- Consideration of suspending business licenses.
- Issuing fines to businesses operating unlawfully.
- Issuing fines to agencies facilitating unlawful rentals.
- Prosecution of bylaw offences in BC Supreme Court and Adjudication.
To view Adjudication Notices for tickets that are being disputed, Click Here.
Staff are committed to working with all owners to come into compliance.
To obtain a District of Tofino Business Licence, make sure you have taken the following steps:
- Determine the zoning of your property by viewing the District of Tofino GIS Portal
- Check the District of Tofino Zoning Bylaw to determine the uses permitted in your zone
- Learn about Business Licencing: Application process, fees, regulations.
Please find below a list of the short term rental properties that have current District of Tofino Business Licences.*
*NOTE: Having a current business licence does not confirm compliance with all District bylaws. The District of Tofino is currently reviewing business licenses and working with owners to gain compliance with all applicable bylaws.
This list will be updated quarterly by District staff.
Last Updated: October, 2018
Business Licence Inspector
250-725-3229 ext. 605