Can you do nightly rentals in Squamish?
Hi I’m David Wiebe, real estate adviser with Engel & Volkers. I live in Squamish and I love it here, and guess what everyone else loves it here too! Tourism’s at an all-time high, the world has discovered Squamish and that brings big demand for nightly rentals. I get the question on a daily basis, we’re going to break down the answers for you: can you do nightly rentals in Squamish?
1) Can you do nightly rentals in Squamish?
The short answer is no, there is no zoning in Squamish that allows for nightly rentals. The exception for this rule is a bed and breakfast; most detached homes have zoning that allows bed and breakfast as a permitted use. To get that bed and breakfast license there are some hoops to jump through. Yearly fees, safety checks, it’s not cheap and it’s not easy. Outside of a legal bed and breakfast license there is no zoning in Squamish that allows for nightly rentals. Just because there is no zoning in Squamish that allows for nightly rentals doesn’t mean there aren’t nightly rentals available in Squamish. In fact, there are over 500 properties currently available for nightly rentals in Squamish.
2) What are the risks of doing nightly rentals in a property that isn’t zoned for it?
The short answer to this question is you can get fined. The likelihood of receiving a fine, and where that fine comes from, is dependent on what kind of property you have. If it’s an attached property like a condo or a townhome, the fine is likely going to come from the strata as most strata bylaws have been amended to disallow nightly rentals. If you have a detached home, that fine would be coming from the district. The district follows up on a complaint driven basis, those complaints would come from your neighbours.
3) What neighbourhoods in Squamish are the best for nightly rentals?
The best neighbourhoods for nightly rentals are those that are in high demand for renters and have a low risk of complaints. The further away your neighbours are, the less likely they are to complain. Because most people visit Squamish for outdoor recreation like biking, hiking, climbing and skiing, the neighbourhoods that put people close to these activities are going to be in the highest demand from visitors. These are a few of my top picks:
- University Highlands – near mountain bike trails and Quest University; students have family coming to visit, and they want a nice place to stay.
- Skyridge – located at the base of Jack’s trail that puts you right out to all the Alice Lake mountain bike trails. In addition to this you’re at the North end of Squamish, so it’s very quick to Whistler.
- Crumpet Woods – close to the chief, a mecca for rock climbers, as well as DowntownSquamish which is close to everything.
4) What are the pros and cons of short-term nightly rentals?
Nightly rentals can generate potentially higher revenues and offer homeowners more flexibility than renting out a property long term. Prices and demand fluctuate season to season, which can be difficult for homeowners who are carrying a mortgage as there is always the risk of having a slow month. Poor weather, forest fires and other situations outside your control can have an effect on a nightly rental’s monthly income. Nightly rental operators also carry the risk of receiving a fine from the district or their strata.
So, can you do nightly rentals in Squamish? As you’ve heard, this isn’t a simple answer, and the answer is always evolving. The district is currently working on a new policy that will open up nightly rentals to more property owners. Email me with any questions and updated information at firstname.lastname@example.org.