Planning & Development

Short Term Vacation Rentals

Nightly and weekly accommodation rentals on residential properties within the ACRD are increasing due to a rising demand from visitors to spend time in the region. These rentals, known as Short Term Vacation Rentals (STRs), offer an opportunity for homeowners to participate in the growing tourism economy, but there have been complaints about the rental units, particularly in residential areas not zoned for that use.

In 2017, the ACRD undertook a series of public consultation initiatives to explore stakeholder input and insights on the local issues related to STRs, learn from other communities' experiences, and determine how to move forward in managing these types of rentals in the ACRD. The Short Term Vacation Rentals Consultation Summary and Recommendations Report outlined the public consultation and research undertaken.

The preferred option from stakeholders for managing STRs in the ACRD was to permit them with a Temporary Use Permit (TUP). Based on this, ACRD staff prepared a Short Term Vacation Rentals Temporary Use Permit Policy, which was adopted by the Regional Board on January 24, 2018.

What is a Short Term Vacation Rental?
A STR is the use of a dwelling unit for commercial accommodation for periods of time less than 30 days. If the dwelling unit - e.g. suite, cabin, or house - is being rented by the night, weekend, week, or any amount of time less than a month and the owner or an agent is receiving compensation, it is considered a STR.

Are You Operating a Short Term Vacation Rental?
If you are operating a STR in the ACRD please review this STR TUP guide, and the information below, to help understand:

  • What an STR is
  • Whether or not you need a TUP
  • How to apply
  • The TUP process
A STR TUP will allow you to participate in the tourism economy while keeping visitors safe and maintaining the character of our community.

Temporary Use Permits for Short Term Vacation Rentals
The Short Term Vacation Rentals Temporary Use Permit Policy outlines guidelines for when a TUP may be considered by the Regional Board to allow STR uses to be permitted.

A TUP is a type of permit, issued by the ACRD after approval from the Board of Directors that allows a use on a property that would otherwise not be zoned for that use. Almost none of the residential properties within the ACRD permit STRs, but by obtaining a TUP the property can be used for STR purposes.

Do you need a STR TUP?

The zoning of your property will determine whether you will need a TUP to operate a STR. If your property is zoned residential, in most cases you will need a TUP. You can look up your zoning on a map here and the details in the zoning bylaw here or by calling the ACRD Planning Department at 250-720-2700.

It is important to note that there is difference between how a TUP can be issued if the subject property is within an Official Community Plan (OCP) area or not. Properties within all of the land use designations in the ACRD Electoral Area OCPs (Bamfield, Beaufort, South Long Beach, Sproat Lake, Beaver Creek and Cherry Creek) are designated under the Local Government Act (LGA) (s. 492) as areas in which TUPs may be issued. However, if a property owner within an Electoral Area wants to apply for a TUP and the property is not within an OCP area, the TUP application must go through a full bylaw process, including a Public Hearing, in the same manner as a rezoning.

How to apply?

Download a STR TUP application form: Development Application STR TUP

The application must be completed in full and all additional required documentation submitted before it will be considered by the Board of Directors.

Completed application forms can be submitted to the Regional District office between 8:00am and 4:30pm, Monday to Friday, excluding statutory holidays.

The application fee is currently $525 + $250 advertising and notice. In January 2024, the fee will increase to $600 + $500 advertising and notice. A business licence is not required.

What information needs to be submitted with an application?

Although the required information will depend on the individual application, all applications will be required to include:
  • A site plan of the property showing all legal dimensions, buildings, setbacks, services, and parking;
  • A floor plan of the rental unit, indicating what area of the unit will be rented and the locations of all bedrooms, bathrooms, and other facilities;
  • A sewerage system letter of certification from a Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner confirming the system can handle a rental unit; and
  • Other information, including home warranty and other documentation, as required.
ACRD Planning staff are available to help applicants determine what information might be required for their application as necessary.

Application process

Once all required information is received and a report is prepared by ACRD staff, the application will be presented to the relevant Electoral Area Advisory Planning Commission and the Board of Directors. The application will need to appear before the Board of Directors twice before it is issued - the first time to be considered, and the second time to be issued or denied.

During the first meeting the application is presented, the Board of Directors may choose to either consider issuing the TUP or deny it. If the Board passes a resolution to consider issuing a TUP, notice is given to all neighbouring property owners and residents within 100m and placed in the community newspaper, and opportunity is made for the public to comment.

During the second meeting the application is presented, the Board of Directors will either issue or deny the permit. A public information meeting may also occur prior to the issuance of a TUP, if deemed necessary by the Electoral Area Advisory Planning Commission or Board of Directors. In evaluating a TUP application submitted to the Regional Board by the applicant, the Regional District may consider the following criteria:
  • That the use must be clearly temporary or seasonal in nature;
  • That the use must not alter the residential appearance of the property;
  • That one STR is permitted per property;
  • The compatibility of the proposal with adjacent uses; and
  • The impact of the proposed use on the natural environment, including groundwater.
In issuing a TUP, the Regional District may specify conditions including, but not limited to:

  • The buildings to be used;
  • The area of use;
  • The hours of use;
  • Total number of permitted rental occupants;
  • Availability of owner or caretaker;
  • Form and character of the rental; and
  • Environmental protection.
Please refer to the Short Term Vacation Rentals Temporary Use Permit Policy for specific criteria and conditions that the Regional District may consider when evaluating and issuing a TUP.

Contact Us
For additional information or if you have any questions, please contact us:

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District
Planning and Development