Calgary, AB,

Council approves direction on short term rentals for safety and consumer protection

Recommendations brought to Council today on measures to help ensure consumer protection and the safety of guests using short term rentals (STRs) passed as part of the Consent Agenda. The recommendations included creating a tiered tourism accommodation business licence category for STRs, revising the current Lodging House category in the Business Licence Bylaw 32M98 and conducting a public education campaign. Administration will now proceed with engagement of stakeholders to develop the needed Business Licence rules and report back to Council in Q3 2019.

Business Strategist Lindsay Luhnau says the recommendations were developed after consultation with multiple industry stakeholders and different business areas of City Administration.

“Regulating areas of the sharing economy can be contentious so Administration developed recommendations with the customer in mind. We wanted to make sure the health and safety of guests who stay in short term rentals and the general public are protected, while also ensuring the rules do not deter people from entering the market,” says Luhnau.

On December 5, the scoping report was presented to the committee on Community and Protective Services where a number of stakeholders, including STR operators, Airbnb, hotel operators, and the Calgary Hotel Association voiced their opinions to Council. Luhnau says the majority of those presenting supported the scoping report recommendations. By creating a regulatory structure, The City will improve clarity for STR operators while also crating equity across the industry. Committee also opted to include two additional recommendations in the report: continued advocacy urging the government of Alberta to improve the Destination Marketing Fee administration for better transparency and accountability; and ensure the implementation is resourced from the newly approved four-year One Calgary budget.

“While several short term rental operators expressed concerns over red tape, we are confident the path forward will not put an undue burden on STR operators. As this business category continues to grow and evolve, these regulatory measures will give operators greater clarity on what they have to have in place and how they can and cannot operate,” says Luhnau.

In early 2019, The City will begin developing the necessary amendments to the Business Licence Bylaw, as well as the processes for applying for and renewing the new Tourism Accommodation Business Licence. This work is expected to be completed in mid-2019. The education campaign will help tourism accommodation operators better understand how they fit into the Calgary market and share information with members of the public on how to direct concerns.

For more information on City business licensing, visit