Successful Short Term Rental Defense

Posted: January 15, 2019

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January 15, 2019
For Immediate Release

District Successfully Defends Short-Term Rental Regulations

BC Supreme Court Releases South Chesterman Beach Homes Decision

TOFINO, B.C. – The District of Tofino is pleased to advise of its recent success in BC Supreme Court in defending its position that short term rentals are not permitted on the properties known as South Chesterman Beach Homes (SCBH).

In 2017, the District’s Business Licence Inspector refused to issue business licences to the owners of a number of townhomes at South Chesterman Beach Homes to operate short term rental businesses. The townhome owners sought reconsideration of the decisions by Tofino Council which, in February 2018, after carefully considering submissions from the Licence Inspector and the owners, upheld the decisions of the Licence Inspector on the basis that the short term rental businesses do not comply with Tofino’s business licensing and zoning bylaws and that a lawful non-conforming use of the SCBH properties has not been established. The SCBH owners sought judicial review of the decisions of Tofino Council to the BC Supreme Court by way of petition.

The matter was heard in BC Supreme Court in July 2018 and a judgment was rendered on December 24, 2018. In her reasons for judgment, the Honourable Madam Justice Loo found that the decisions of Tofino Council were reasonable, and dismissed the petition commenced by the SCBH owners. The Court also awarded costs to the District.

The SCBH owners argued that short-term rental use of the SCBH properties is lawfully non-conforming on the basis that this use was permitted on the SCBH properties prior to 2005 zoning amendments regarding short-term rentals. The Court found that the zoning bylaw that was in effect prior to the 2005 zoning amendments did not permit short-term rentals of the SCBH properties and thus short-term rentals are not a lawful non-conforming use of the SCBH properties.

With respect to this decision, Mayor Josie Osborne noted “The District is pleased to receive confirmation that short-term rentals are not permitted at South Chesterman Beach Homes, as we have asserted this for several years.” She added, “Short-term rentals have come to play a large role in Tofino’s tourism accommodation offerings and provide many local homeowners with valuable income. The District of Tofino will continue to proactively enforce its short-term rental regulations and work with property owners to ensure they understand and meet these regulations.”

For more information on Tofino’s short-term rental regulations, see:  


Mayor Josie Osborne,
District of Tofino
(T) 250 725 3229