After a long series of debates in council chambers, the District is moving forward with officially enforcing its new short-term rental regulations.
As of Jan. 20, the municipality announced it will be permitting and licensing vacation rentals in town.
In a news release, the District said business licence applications are now live.
“It has been challenging to develop policy for short-term rental accommodation for Squamish that balances all of the competing interests. Short-term rental regulations have been established to help protect the long-term rental housing supply for locals, while providing homeowners with options to address affordability and contribute to the supply of vacation accommodation," said Mayor Karen Elliott in the release.
"First and foremost, our priority is on providing affordable housing and rental options for our workforce and community members. We recognize that short-term rentals have a role to play in supporting our tourism industry, particularly as demand resumes once travel restrictions ease. We continue to approach these regulations with careful consideration to ensure that a diversity and balance of accommodations exist to support all aspects of our economy and community and we will review our short-term rental regulations regularly alongside our progress on affordable housing options."
A limited number of temporary use permits will be issued, and those will allow 30 homeowners to become an exception to rules that ban vacation rentals in secondary suites. The deadline to apply for these temporary use permits is Feb. 14.
Under the new rules, residents may only host short-term rentals in a unit where they live and spend the majority of their time.
It also imposes requirements to obtain a business licence, pay a licence fee, and comply with life safety requirements.
Finally, with the intent of preserving the long-term rental market in a town facing a housing affordability crisis, the District banned people from using secondary suites for vacation rentals.
Application information is now live at squamish.ca/short-term-rentals.