This page was last reviewed on September 14, 2022.
Current Vacation Rental Regulations Review Update
September 6, 2022
On Tuesday September 6th, Village Council adopted amendments to the Business License Bylaw No. 896, 2009 related to short term vacation rentals. This completes a Council priority project to review and update Cumberland’s vacation rental regulations. The initiative was born out of the 2020 Housing Needs Assessment highlighting a shortage of attainable housing options in the community. The new business license regulations require the operator to:
- Display their valid Village of Cumberland business license within the dwelling unit used as a vacation rental.
- Identify a valid Village of Cumberland business license number in each advertisement, listing, or promotional material that is intended to communicate the availability of a vacation rental.
Anyone who has been operating a vacation rental that complied with the Zoning Bylaw prior to these changes is permitted to continue to operate under the previous regulations.
With the completion of the short-term regulation review, the Village is again actively accepting business license applications for short term vacation rentals.
To apply for a business license for your vacation rental, complete and submit an application form.
August 8, 2022
On Monday August 8th, Council passed the Zoning Amendment Bylaw as a means to update the Village’s vacation rental regulations. The new regulations seek to strike a balance between permitting vacation rentals to provide tourism accommodation and protecting the community’s long term rental housing.
The new regulations continue to permit vacation rentals only in the Infill Residential Zone (R1-A), the Recreation and Tourism Zone (RE-1), and on two spot zoned properties within the Village Core Commercial Mixed Use Zone (VCMU-1).
Under the new regulations, vacation rentals are:
- permitted only on properties that also have a principal resident (an owner or tenant) living on it
- permitted only in one dwelling unit on a property. This can be the main dwelling, or a secondary suite, or an accessory dwelling unit.
- limited to a maximum number of three bedrooms
- limited to a maximum number of six guests
- required to post a modestly sized outdoor sign of 0.3 square metres with contact information on the property.
- prohibited to be operated on the same property as a daycare use.
Residents will also continue to be permitted to rent out individual rooms in their principal residence, similarly to a bed and breakfast operation.
Anyone who has been operating a legal vacation rental business that complies with current zoning and business licensing regulations, is permitted to continue to operate their vacation rental business under the previous regulations as long as their business remains in compliance. However, should the business license expire, or if ownership of the property is transferred, they are required to apply for a new business license which will then be reviewed/issued under the current regulations.
For the new regulations, view Zoning Amendment Bylaw 1170, 2022.
Over the past decade, vacation rentals, both as an income source and investment strategy, have grown significantly, raising concern of their impact on the availability of long-term rental housing in the Village. In some cases, vacation rentals could be occupying homes or suites that might otherwise be rented out to long term tenants.
At the same time, since Cumberland does not have any hotels, vacation rentals play an important role in retaining tourists in Cumberland for over-night stays and visits to local businesses. For many tourists, vacation rentals are the preferred choice of accommodation.
The purpose of the Village’s review of its vacation rental regulations is to understand the impact of vacation rentals, both positive and negative, on the community and have a conversation about regulatory changes that strike the right balance between protecting long-term rental housing and a strong local tourism accommodation sector.
Current Vacation Rental Regulations
Vacation rentals are currently permitted in the R1A zone (Residential Infill) which includes most of the old part of Cumberland close to the downtown core. This zone does not include the larger single family lots on Royston and Cumberland roads or subdivisions within Coal Valley Estates, Carlisle Lane, or Steam Engine Station.
View where vacation rentals are currently permitted.
View the Village core zoning map from the Zoning Bylaw.
Under the Village’s Zoning Bylaw, rentals for periods longer than four weeks are considered a residential use. Vacation rentals are considered a commercial use of residential property and require a business license.
The Village received 658 responses to an online survey on vacation rentals, open January 7, 2022 to February 7, 2022. The survey is now closed.
In addition, online meetings were held on February 2 and 3, 2022. At the meetings, staff shared a short presentation on existing regulations, regulatory tools and options. This was followed by small group discussion of how the Village could best regulate vacation rentals. Altogether 21 residents participated.
The Public Engagement Summary and Analysis Report summarizes survey responses and workshop discussions and makes recommendations on regulatory options.
The public engagement summary and analysis was presented at the March 28, 2022 Council meeting. Council referred the item to the Advisory Planning Commission, Economic Development Steering Committee and Homelessness and Affordable Housing Committees for comments.
The formal bylaw review and adoption process is expected to start in May 2022.
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