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Short Term Rentals and Lodging Houses

Short Term Rentals & Lodging Houses

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Calgary City Council approved changes to the Business Licence Bylaw to require a business licence and regulations for short term rental (STR) hosts in Calgary, which come into effect on February 1, 2020.

The good host guide was developed to provide hosts with an overview of regulations and processes, including tips and a checklist. The good guest guide​ was developed to provide knowledge on expectations, accommodation practices and support through booking to stay.

Short Term Rentals - The City’s approach to regulation

Definition of a Short Term Rental

A short term rental is defined as the business of providing temporary accommodation for compensation, in a dwelling unit or portion of a dwelling unit for periods of up to 30 consecutive days. Businesses that have been issued a permit for a bed and breakfast are not classified as short term rentals.

Short Term Rental business licence costs

As of February 1, 2020, the Business Licence Bylaw includes a two-tiered business licence category for short term rental hosts. All hosts must have a separate short term business licence for each property they rent out. Tier 2 licensees must obtain a fire inspection for the short term rental property before the business licence will be issued.
Tier 1: 1 to 4 rooms offered for rent = $100 per property
Tier 2: 5 or more rooms offered for rent = $172 per property plus the cost of a fire inspection of $104 per property

Short Term Rentals in Secondary Suites

A secondary suite is a self-contained dwelling unit within principal residences or in backyards. They have separate living, cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities. Some hosts may choose to rent a secondary or backyard suite as a short term rental. In this case, the suite must meet the requirements for a legal secondary suite. If being used as a short term rental, the host must have a short term rental licence. For more information, visit on secondary suites Calgary.ca/suites.

Please note that secondary suites are not permitted within a dwelling unit that operates as a lodging house.

Regulations

Short term rental hosts need to be aware of the following regulations under the Business Licence Bylaw:

Regulation type Description Purpose

Egress

A host cannot rent a room that does not have one or more egress windows. (Multi-storied apartment/condo buildings have existing fire safety standards and do not need egress windows.) 

Other regulations: Egress in a multi-storied building, such as an apartment building or apartment style condominium, is regulated under the Alberta Safety Codes Act Fire Code Regulation.

Ensure the safety of guests in the event of a fire or other incident where a guest would have to evacuate.​

Maximum number of guests

A host cannot allow more than two adults, not including minors​, per room. As the definition of short term rental in the bylaw is 30 days or less, longer term stays are not covered in the bylaw.

Other regulations: Alberta Safety Codes Act Fire Code Regulation

Ensuring the safety of guests and neighbors by addressing overcrowding issues.​

Overlapping bookings

A host cannot allow overlapping bookings of two or more bookings for the dwelling at the same time. This means an host cannot rent out separate rooms to separate guests under separate reservations but can rent out multiple rooms as part of one guest reservation.

Ensure consumer protection of guests and transparency between host and guest while reducing community impacts.

Advertising

A host must include the business licence number in any advertising for the short term rental.

Discouraged unlicensed hosts and advise guests that properties require a business licence in Calgary. 

Emergency contact

A host must post the name, phone number and email address (in a conspicuous location) of an emergency contact person who can be reached 24 hours a day. An emergency contact template is available here​

Ensure guests and enforcement authorities can address issues if they arise.

Guest record

A host must keep a record in English and in an electronic form that is satisfactory to the Chief Licence Inspector. Hosts must keep permanent records for each transaction and provide it to the Inspector upon demand. The record must include:

Ensure transparency of hosts for guests and the Chief Licence Inspector.​

Fines for Non-compliance

The City’s approach is to achieve voluntary compliance for bylaws whenever possible. This means we will work with hosts when possible to ensure they are complying with the bylaw. Failing to abide by the regulations can result in a $1,000 fine for each of the following offenses upon conviction:

Offense Section of the bylaw

Offer a room without a window 

58.1(4)(a)

​Permit guests to sleep in a room without a window

58.1(4)(b)

Allow more than 2 adults per room

58.1(5)

Overlapping bookings

58.1(6)

Fail to include licence number on advertisement

58.1(7)

​Fail to post emergency contact information

58.1(8)

Fail to keep record

58.1(9)

Fail to provide records on demand

58.1(10)​

Lodging house

Definition of a lodging house

A lodging house is defined as the business of providing sleeping or lodging accommodation for compensation for three or more persons in the same dwelling unit for periods of 30 or more consecutive days, where each person has entered into a separate rental agreement.

With this new definition, some operators who previously were licensed for a lodging house may now be categorized as a short term rental. Operators should maintain their current licence and apply for the STR licence in Feb. 2020.

To apply for a lodging house business licence, go to calgary.ca/myBusiness

New regulation

An operator must keep a record in English and in an electronic form that is satisfactory to the Chief Licence Inspector. Operators must keep a permanent record for each transaction and provide it to the Inspector upon demand. The record must include:

  • full name and email address of a paid guest
  • room of the dwelling the person is staying in
  • duration of their stay

A guest record template is available here​.

The purpose of this regulation is to ensure transparency of operators for guests and the Chief Licence Inspector.

Overview of the regulations

Short Term Rental

Licence category Short Term Rental - Tier 1

Number of Bookings

1

Number of Rooms

1-4

Number of Occupants

1-9

Property Requirement

Primary/Secondary

Consecutive Days

30 or less

Business Licence Cost

$100

Fire Inspection Cost

N/A

AHS Inspection Cost

N/A

Total Cost

$100

Short Term Rental

Licence category Short Term Rental - Tier 2

Number of Bookings

1

Number of Rooms

5+

Number of Occupants

10+

Property Requirement

Primary/Secondary

Consecutive Days

30 or less

Business Licence Cost

$172

Fire Inspection Cost

$104

AHS Inspection Cost

N/A

Total Cost

$276

Lodging House

Licence category Lodging house

Number of Bookings

Multiple

Number of Rooms

3+

Number of Occupants

3+ (based on number of lease agreements)

Property Requirement

Primary

Consecutive Days

31 or more

Business Licence Cost

$172

Fire Inspection Cost

$104

AHS Inspection Cost

$0

Total Cost

$276

Comments, complaints and more information

For compliments or complaints regarding short term rentals and lodging houses, call 311, use the app or go to Calgary.ca/311

For more information about business licensing, visit: Calgary.ca/myBusiness and Bylaws related to businesses​.

For more on long-term rentals of secondary suites, visit calgary.ca/suites

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