The short-term rental business in Calgary is really taking off - but while the industry thrives there's a rising chorus for better safeguards.
To address concerns about guest safety, host responsibility and community impact the City Council is implementing changes to the short-term rental bylaw, effective Jan 1st, 2024.
These amendments aim at creating a balance between the benefits of short-term rentals and the well-being of everyone involved.
Let’s take a look at what the vacation rental scene in Calgary currently looks like.
A Snapshot of Calgary’s STR market
The short-term rental (STR) market is a pretty interesting space with lots of different angles to look at. Here’s what's happening in Calgary's STR scene according to the research by the University of Calgary:
- It's growing: Despite a dip during the COVID-19 pandemic, Calgary's STR market is now bigger than ever and the number of places you can rent continues to grow.
- 80% are entire-unit listings: Most of the time, when you book an STR in Calgary, you're not just getting a room – you're getting the whole house or apartment. This means that most of the time, the host isn't around during your stay.
- Commercialization exists: There's a bit of buzz about the market getting more commercial. In Calgary, about 12% of hosts are really into it, running multiple STRs, more like an investment. This group is raking in over 50% of all the money made from STRs in the city.
- 21% are permanently available: Interestingly, about one-fifth of the STRs in Calgary are up for grabs all the time. These could have been long-term rentals otherwise.
- 79% are available for a term, temporarily, or episodically: The majority of the STRs aren't always on the market. They pop up now and then – like when the owners are away on vacation or they're just listed for certain seasons or specific periods maybe because the owners work out of town a lot.
What Rules Apply to Short-term Rentals in Calgary Currently
Vacation rentals have been regulated in Calgary since February 2020. The Business Licence Bylaw is a system in place for anyone running an STR. It talks about the different licenses you need, how much it costs to apply, rules for running your place safely and what happens if you don't follow the rules. Here’s a detailed look:
- Licensing: If you're hosting an STR, you need a yearly business license. There are two price tags for this depending on how many rooms you're renting out. It's $100 per property for 1-4 rooms and $172 if you're offering 5 or more.
- Advertising: When you're advertising your place (like on Airbnb), you have to include your business license number.
- Bookings: You can't rent out different rooms to different groups in the same property at the same time.
- Room Limits: Each room you rent can only Roomhave up to two adults.
- Information: Hosts need to give their guests a way to contact them 24/7 in case of emergencies. Hosts must also keep a permanent record of everyone who stays.
So, what’s changing?
Airbnb Rules in Calgary - What Will Change as 1st January 2024?
The landscape of short-term rentals in Calgary is set for a significant shift in January 2024 with stricter business license requirements coming into effect. These changes aim to ensure guest safety, protect communities and create a sustainable environment for everyone involved. Here’s what is expected from hosts as per the new laws.
- Detailed Floor Plan: A floor plan of the rental unit must be submitted highlighting all rooms for rent (including living rooms with fold-out couches), smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, fire exits and room dimensions. This provides transparency and ensures guests are aware of safety features.
- Proof of Ownership or Consent: Hosts must provide proof of ownership or written consent from the property owner. For condos, additional written permission from the condo board is necessary ensuring adherence to community regulations.
- Business Insurance: Proof of insurance that covers the rental operation is mandatory, safeguarding guests and hosts in case of unforeseen incidents.
- License Inspector Review: Expect a visit from a license inspector to verify compliance with the new regulations.
- Annual Fire Inspections: Calgary Fire Department will also conduct annual inspections to ensure life safety requirements are met, prioritizing guest safety and fire prevention.
As Calgary's short-term rental landscape adapts to these changes in 2024, hosts, guests and residents can anticipate a more balanced and responsible environment. It’s better to stay informed, stay compliant and work together to ensure Calgary's short-term rental scene thrives while respecting the needs of the community.
Remember, these changes apply to existing and new licenses starting January 1st, 2024. So, if you're a host or considering becoming one, familiarize yourself with the new requirements to ensure a smooth transition into the future of Calgary's short-term rentals.