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Big White Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Big White, Canada

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Big White

Big White is a popular ski resort town nestled in the Monashee Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Its picturesque slopes and charming village attract thousands of tourists each winter season looking for a memorable alpine getaway. For property owners, the steady stream of visitors presents an enticing opportunity to earn extra income by offering their homes or condos as short term rentals on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

However, before listing your Big White property online, it's crucial to understand and comply with the various local regulations governing short term rentals. The province of British Columbia has recently enacted new legislation aimed at reining in the booming short term accommodation sector, which has been blamed for exacerbating housing shortages in many communities. These rules, combined with Big White's own bylaws, create a framework that all hosts must navigate to operate legally.

In this article, we'll dive into the specific licensing requirements, zoning restrictions, tax obligations and other key considerations for starting a short term rental business in Big White. We'll also explore the current regulatory environment and gauge the community's overall friendliness towards Airbnb-style accommodations. Finally, we'll lay out step-by-step instructions for getting your rental up and running in accordance with the law.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirements in Big White

As of May 1, 2024, the province of British Columbia requires all short term rental hosts to obtain a provincial registration number and include it in any online listings, such as those posted on Airbnb or VRBO3. This registration process was established as part of the new Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act, which aims to give local governments stronger tools to enforce their own short term rental bylaws and crack down on operators who skirt the rules2.

Hosts must also obtain a business license from their local government, if mandated by municipal regulations3. However, Big White is exempt from some of the provincial act's provisions since it is a designated resort municipality with a population under 10,00023. This means the licensing requirements may differ compared to larger cities in BC.

To determine exactly what licenses you need to legally rent out your Big White property on a short term basis, contact the municipal office directly. They can provide the most current and accurate information on local business licensing rules. Keep in mind that licensing is just one piece of the compliance puzzle - you'll also need to ensure your property is zoned for short term rentals and adheres to any other applicable bylaws.

Required Documents for Big White Short Term Rentals

Before listing your property for short term stays, make sure you have your paperwork in order. Based on provincial and local regulations, you will likely need:

  • Provincial registration number from the Short-Term Rental Accommodations Registry
  • Municipal business license (if required by Big White bylaws)
  • Proof of ownership or landlord approval to sublet the property
  • Land use/zoning approval confirming short term rentals are permitted
  • Any building permits for renovations done to prepare the space for guests

Having this documentation ready will help you avoid fines or other penalties down the road. It also demonstrates to potential guests that you are a responsible host committed to providing a safe and legal accommodation. Once you've obtained the necessary licenses and permits, be sure to include the registration and license numbers in your online listing.

Big White Short Term Rental Taxes

Earning money from short term rentals comes with tax implications that all hosts need to be aware of. As of January 1, 2024, the Canadian government is denying income tax deductions for non-compliant short term rentals in an effort to crack down on the industry and improve housing access6. This means you can only claim deductions if your rental adheres to all provincial and municipal regulations.

Additionally, any income earned from short term rentals is taxable and must be reported on your annual return. How much tax you owe depends on whether the Canada Revenue Agency considers your rental a business or an investment. If it's deemed a business, you may have to charge GST/HST and pay into the Canada Pension Plan. If it's an investment, you report the income as capital gains which are taxed differently.

Other tax considerations include the BC Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT). As a host, you are responsible for collecting and remitting these taxes as well, unless the platform you use collects them on your behalf. Airbnb, for example, automatically calculates and collects applicable taxes in many jurisdictions.

To fully understand your tax obligations as a short term rental operator in Big White, consult with a qualified accountant or tax professional. They can assess your specific situation and help you stay compliant with federal, provincial and municipal tax laws. Proper tax planning and reporting will save you from headaches and potentially costly back taxes and penalties.

Big White Short Term Rental Rules

In addition to provincial regulations, short term rentals in Big White must adhere to the municipality's own bylaws governing things like zoning, noise, parking, occupancy limits and fire safety. While Big White is exempt from some of BC's new short term rental rules due to its resort status, it still has the power to set and enforce standards for these accommodations.

The specifics of Big White's short term rental bylaws are not entirely clear from the search results provided. Further research into the municipal code is needed to paint a complete picture of what's required. However, a few key points can be gleaned:

  • Properties must be zoned to allow for short term rentals. Some condo buildings are specifically designated for this use4.
  • There may be limits on the number of guests allowed per bedroom or property.
  • Parking restrictions may apply, especially in the busy village core.
  • Noise bylaws likely prohibit loud disturbances late at night or early in the morning.
  • Fire safety measures such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and emergency exits are almost certainly mandated.

Before purchasing a property with the intent to use it as a short term rental, carefully review Big White's zoning map and applicable bylaws. If you already own a home or condo, verify that it's eligible to be rented out on a nightly basis. Violating municipal regulations can result in hefty fines - up to $3000 per day as of 202312.

When in doubt, reach out to Big White's planning department or bylaw office for guidance. They can help you interpret the regulations and stay on the right side of the law. It's always better to ask permission than beg forgiveness when it comes to complying with local ordinances.

Does Big White Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions in online forums like Bigger Pockets and Reddit, it appears Big White takes a relatively lenient approach to enforcing short term rental regulations compared to larger cities in British Columbia. Several users mention that purpose-built condo complexes zoned for nightly rentals are common and operate without much pushback from the municipality4.

This makes sense given Big White's status as a resort community that relies heavily on tourism. Allowing a robust supply of short term accommodations is crucial for attracting visitors and supporting local businesses. Cracking down too hard on Airbnb-style rentals could have a chilling effect on the town's economy.

However, this doesn't mean hosts can flout the rules entirely. With the province increasing fines for violations and threatening to revoke tax deductions for non-compliant listings, Big White may start taking enforcement more seriously12. The municipality itself also has a vested interest in ensuring short term rentals don't negatively impact housing availability and affordability for full-time residents.

Overall, Big White seems to be more Airbnb-friendly than cities like Vancouver or Victoria, but hosts still need to do their due diligence and follow applicable regulations. Flying under the radar is getting increasingly risky as the short term rental industry faces greater scrutiny from all levels of government. Playing by the rules is the best way to build a sustainable and profitable rental business in the long run.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Big White

Now that we've covered the regulatory landscape for short term rentals in Big White, let's look at the practical steps for getting your property listed and ready to welcome guests:

  • Research zoning and bylaws to confirm your property is eligible for short term renting. Check with the municipal planning department if unsure.
  • Obtain necessary licenses and permits, including a provincial registration number and municipal business license (if required). Keep copies of approval documents on hand.
  • Prepare the space for guests with furniture, linens, toiletries and other essentials. Make any upgrades needed to meet safety standards and create an inviting atmosphere.
  • Take high-quality photos that showcase your rental's best features. Write an accurate, compelling listing description that sets the right expectations.
  • Choose a platform like Airbnb or VRBO to list your property on. Set competitive nightly rates based on comparable rentals and seasonal demand.
  • Establish clear check-in and check-out procedures that make it easy for guests to access the property. Consider using a lockbox or keyless entry system.
  • Arrange for regular cleaning and maintenance between bookings. Hire a reputable service or do it yourself to ensure the space is spotless for each new guest.
  • Keep accurate records of all rental income and expenses for tax purposes. Consult an accountant to ensure you're claiming eligible deductions and remitting necessary taxes.
  • Communicate promptly and professionally with guests before, during and after their stay. Be available to answer questions and resolve any issues that arise.
  • Solicit honest reviews from satisfied guests and use their feedback to continually improve the rental experience. High ratings will help you stand out in search results.

Starting a short term rental business in Big White requires careful planning and attention to detail, but the potential rewards are significant. By following the steps above and staying compliant with local regulations, you can tap into the growing demand for unique, well-appointed accommodations in one of Canada's premier ski destinations.

Who to Contact in Big White About Short Term Rental Regulations and Zoning

If you have questions about short term rental rules or need to obtain required licenses and permits, reach out to the following municipal departments in Big White:

  • Planning Department: For zoning inquiries and land use approvals.
  • Bylaw Office: To learn more about noise, parking, occupancy and other restrictions that may apply to your rental.
  • Business Licensing: To apply for a business license if mandated by local regulations.

Unfortunately, the search results provided do not include specific contact information for these departments. Further research is needed to find the appropriate phone numbers and email addresses. Check Big White's official website or do a targeted online search to track down these details.

When contacting municipal staff, be prepared with your property address and a clear explanation of your short term rental plans. Have any relevant documents like title deeds, strata bylaws or floor plans ready to share. The more information you can provide upfront, the easier it will be for them to give you accurate guidance.

Remember, these officials are there to help you navigate the complexities of local short term rental regulations. Approach your interactions with patience, politeness and a willingness to learn and adapt as needed. Building positive relationships with municipal staff can only benefit you as a responsible host in the long run.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Big White on Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think About Local Regulations?

Scanning the posts on Reddit and Bigger Pockets, a few key themes emerge regarding how short term rental operators view the regulatory environment in Big White:

  • Some hosts feel the new provincial rules unfairly target compliant operators who have invested in properties specifically zoned for short term renting. They argue that blanket restrictions hurt law-abiding hosts while doing little to rein in "rogue" listings4.
  • Others express frustration with the lack of clarity around municipal bylaws and licensing requirements. They want the town to provide more explicit guidance to help hosts understand and adhere to local regulations4.
  • There is concern that the rising fees, taxes and potential fines associated with running a short term rental will eat into profits and make it harder for small-scale hosts to compete with larger, corporate players4.
  • Despite these gripes, most posters seem to agree that Big White remains more welcoming to short term rentals than other BC municipalities. The town's zoning bylaws allow for purpose-built rental accommodations in certain areas, which is not the case in many larger cities4.
  • Several hosts emphasize the importance of doing thorough due diligence before buying a short term rental property in Big White. They advise working with a local realtor who understands zoning and can steer you towards compliant listings4.

Overall, the sentiment among Airbnb hosts in Big White seems to be one of cautious optimism. While they may not love every aspect of the regulatory framework, most recognize that the town's economy depends on a healthy supply of tourist accommodations. By working proactively with municipal officials and advocating for fair, clear rules, hosts can help ensure short term rentals remain a viable investment in this popular ski resort for years to come.

In conclusion, starting a short term rental business in Big White requires careful navigation of provincial and municipal regulations. From obtaining necessary licenses to understanding zoning restrictions and tax obligations, hosts must do their homework to stay compliant and avoid costly penalties.

The regulatory landscape is evolving as BC cracks down on the industry, but Big White's status as a resort community makes it somewhat more friendly to Airbnb-style accommodations than larger cities. By following the steps outlined above and seeking guidance from local officials as needed, aspiring hosts can tap into the lucrative potential of short term renting in this world-class ski destination.

The keys to success are thorough due diligence, proactive compliance, and a commitment to providing exceptional guest experiences. With the right property, pricing strategy and level of service, short term rentals can be a rewarding way to earn extra income and share your love of Big White with visitors from around the globe.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.