Council endorses short-term rental regulations

Administration to return to Council committee with more details in Dec

On September 30, City council approved new bylaw regulations for short term rental operators and amendments for Lodging House regulations. Administration was asked to return to the Standing Policy Committee (SPC) on Community and Protective Services in December with more details on the policy that outlines operational and enforcement practices.

The report to Council recommended amendments to the Business Licence Bylaw to include a two-tiered licence category for short term rental operators; and amendments to the Lodging House definition and regulations. The City is working toward a February implementation date.

The bylaw will require all short term rental operators in Calgary to apply for a licence. Those who rent one to four rooms will apply for the Tier 1 licence at a cost of $100. Operators renting five or more rooms will apply for the Tier 2 licence at a cost of $191 plus the cost of a fire safety inspection at $104. As well, Lodging House operators will be accountable for record keeping as a condition of their licence.

“These regulations are all aimed at ensuring safety for guests and create transparency between guests, operators and the community,” says Cody Weiss, Business Strategist with The City of Calgary. “Our goal is to create a clear understanding of what the bylaw outlines given that regulation is new. So, we are developing a policy document that will clarify for operators their requirements to comply with the new regulation. Our goal over the next couple of months is to get citizens comfortable with what a regulated environment will be like.”

The regulations are in line with the Alberta Safety Codes Act Fire Code Regulations, and the requirements for record keeping are similar to other business licensing categories. The regulations also limit the number of people who can stay in a room intended for sleeping and help ensure rooms meet egress standards to ensure life safety and limit overcrowding.

“We expect the new business licence for short term rental operators will be available online on February 1, 2020. We’re designing this to be an easy, quick application process, especially for Tier 1 licences that will account for over 90 per cent of applicants.” says Weiss.

As part of their business friendly approach to the regulations, a Tier 1 licence can be approved in as little as 24 hours. The City is also developing an operator’s guide and a guest guide that can be downloadable from The City’s web site says Weiss.

Anyone who has a complaint about a short term rental or lodging house are encouraged to call 311. Operators who want the latest information are encouraged to visit where they can also sign up for licensing email updates.