Calgary planning to hit short term rental operators with licensing fee

Oct 2 2019, 4:14 pm

Calgary could be seeing short term rental regulations put into place as early as February 2020.

A release from the City of Calgary states that council approved bylaw regulations on September 30 that would see a licensing process created for short term rental operators, as well as some sort of cap on the number of guests who can stay in a suite.

Council asked administration to provide more details on the operational and enforcement practices come December, with tentative business license applications available online for would-be short term rental operators by early 2020.

It is not explicitly stated in the release, though the nature of short term rentals, and their recent popularity, can be linked to the rise of online rental marketplaces such as Airbnb.

Airbnb listings can currently be found throughout Calgary, though the professionalism, legitimacy, and experience of a stay may vary by each individual listing.

The City of Calgary is aiming to put bylaw regulation into place that would require short term rental operators to hold a license in order to operate, which will range from $100 for those renting one to four rooms to $191 for those renting out five or more.

An additional cost of a fire safety inspection will tack $104 onto that bill, as well as the responsibility to keep records of the conditions of their own licenses.

“These regulations are all aimed at ensuring safety for guests and create transparency between guests, operators, and the community,” said Cody Weiss, Business Strategist with The City of Calgary, in the release.

“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 release does not state exactly what the cap on occupants would be per room — as it will likely vary by suite — though it does state that the limit will be set to “ensure rooms meet egress standards to ensure life safety and limit overcrowding.”

The city believes that these new licenses will become available online by the start of next February, and should take as little as 24 hours to be approved once completed.

It is also noted in the release that any Calgarians with complains about short term lodging or rentals in their area should contact the city at 311, and that operators of short term rentals can head over to the city’s website for updates on the regulation process.