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Lake Louise Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Lake Louise, Canada

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Lake Louise

Lake Louise, nestled in the heart of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, is a world-renowned tourist destination known for its stunning turquoise lake, majestic Rocky Mountains, and world-class skiing. With millions of visitors flocking to the area each year, starting a short term rental business in Lake Louise can be a lucrative venture. However, it's crucial to understand and comply with the local regulations before diving in.

As Lake Louise is situated within a national park, short term rentals are regulated by Parks Canada rather than the municipality. While there is no specific short term rental license required, any commercial business operating in the park, including vacation rentals, must obtain a business license from Parks Canada4.

Before applying for a license, it's essential to ensure your property is eligible and located in an approved zone for short term rentals. In Lake Louise, rentals are primarily permitted within the village area. Owners must also reside in the property for at least 6 months per year4.

The short term rental market in Lake Louise is highly seasonal. Demand and rates peak during the summer months from June to September, as well as the winter ski season from November to April. Shoulder seasons in spring and fall see lower occupancy but can still attract visitors looking for lower prices and fewer crowds1.

When setting your nightly rates, it's important to research comparable properties and factor in additional costs like cleaning fees, taxes, and platform commissions. On average, short term rentals in Lake Louise range from $200-500 CAD per night depending on the size, amenities, and location of the property1.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirements in Lake Louise

To obtain a business license for a short term rental in Lake Louise, you will need to provide several documents to Parks Canada, including4:

  • A detailed description of your short term rental business
  • Proof of ownership or a valid lease agreement for the property
  • Liability insurance coverage
  • Floor plans of the rental unit
  • A fire safety plan that meets national park standards

It's important to submit a complete application with all required documents to avoid delays in getting your license approved. Once obtained, the business license must be renewed annually.

In addition to the business license from Parks Canada, you may also need to register your short term rental with the Alberta Tourism Levy program and obtain a levy number. This allows you to collect and remit the required 4% tourism levy on all accommodations under 28 days4.

Required Documents for Lake Louise Short Term Rentals

In addition to the business license, short term rental operators in Lake Louise must ensure their properties comply with health and safety regulations.

All rentals are subject to inspection by Parks Canada to verify they meet standards. Required documents include4:

  • A permit from Alberta Health Services certifying the property meets health codes
  • A fire inspection report confirming fire safety compliance
  • Proof that the rental unit conforms to the Alberta Building Code
  • A parking plan showing at least one designated space per bedroom

Gathering this documentation and making any necessary upgrades to your property should be done before welcoming your first guests.

It's also critical to have a detailed rental agreement in place outlining all rules, policies, and guest expectations for staying in your property. This should cover things like maximum occupancy, noise restrictions, pet policies, and parking instructions4.

Lake Louise Short Term Rental Taxes

As a short term rental operator in Lake Louise, you are required to collect and remit two key taxes:

  • The federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5% on all reservations
  • The Alberta Tourism Levy of 4% on accommodations under 28 days

The GST must be charged on top of your nightly rates and any additional fees like cleaning or pet charges. You will need to register for a GST number with the Canada Revenue Agency and file regular returns, typically on a quarterly basis4.

For the tourism levy, you must register with Alberta Tourism Levy program and obtain a levy number. The 4% levy is also charged on top of your rates and collected from guests. You will need to file monthly returns and remit the levy to the province4.

Detailed records of all revenue, taxes, and levies collected must be maintained. Failing to charge or remit taxes can result in penalties and legal issues, so it's critical to stay on top of your tax obligations as a short term rental business4.

Lake Louise Short Term Rental Rules

In addition to obtaining proper licensing and paying taxes, short term rental operators in Lake Louise must abide by several rules aimed at minimizing impacts on the community and environment. Some key regulations include4:

  • Rentals are limited to a maximum of 4 guests, regardless of the number of bedrooms
  • Quiet hours between 11pm-7am must be observed and enforced with guests
  • Outdoor fires and smoking are prohibited
  • Wildlife must not be fed or approached
  • All garbage must be properly disposed of in park-provided bins
  • Parking is restricted to designated areas only, with a maximum of one space per bedroom

Violations of these rules can result in fines, suspension of your business license, or even being banned from operating a short term rental in the national park. It's the responsibility of owners to ensure guests are informed of and follow all regulations during their stay.

Many vacation rentals in Lake Louise are located in the small village area near the lake and ski resort. As such, it's important to be mindful of your neighbors and ensure your guests are not disruptive. Establishing clear house rules around noise, parking, and garbage disposal can help maintain positive relationships with the local community1.

Does Lake Louise Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Compared to some larger cities, Lake Louise and Banff National Park take a more relaxed approach to enforcing short term rental rules. The main priority of park authorities is ensuring operators have valid business licenses and comply with health and safety standards1.

However, this doesn't mean rules can be ignored. Parks Canada does conduct periodic inspections and will investigate any complaints received about a property. Repeated violations will be penalized.

Overall, Lake Louise maintains a positive relationship with rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. The town recognizes the important role short term rentals play in the local tourism economy. As long as operators act responsibly and follow the regulations, the vacation rental industry is welcomed and supported in Lake Louise2.

That said, there have been some concerns raised in recent years about the growth of short term rentals and their impact on housing affordability for local workers. As of 2023, there were an estimated 150-200 active short term rentals in the Lake Louise area, making up a significant portion of the limited housing stock1.

Some residents worry that too many properties being converted to vacation rentals is making it harder for seasonal employees to find affordable places to live. This is an ongoing conversation in the community that could lead to additional regulations down the road to strike a balance between the tourism economy and local housing needs.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Lake Louise

If you're ready to take the plunge into the short term rental business in Lake Louise, here are the key steps to get started4:

  • Research the market and regulations to ensure your property is eligible
  • Prepare your property with necessary furniture, amenities, and safety equipment
  • Obtain a business license and all required documents from Parks Canada
  • Register to collect and remit the GST and Alberta Tourism Levy
  • Create a detailed rental agreement outlining all rules and policies
  • List your property on popular booking platforms like Airbnb and VRBO
  • Establish a cleaning and maintenance plan, either self-managed or with a professional service
  • Implement guest screening and communication processes to ensure smooth stays
  • Maintain accurate records of all revenue, expenses, taxes and levies
  • Stay up to date on any changes to short term rental regulations
  • Be a respectful neighbor and ensure guests follow all rules and regulations
  • Provide exceptional customer service to guests and promptly address any issues that arise

With careful planning, attention to detail, and a commitment to being a responsible operator, running a short term rental business in Lake Louise can be a rewarding and profitable venture. The key is to understand and comply with all the local rules while delivering a high-quality experience that keeps guests coming back.

Who to Contact in Lake Louise About Short Term Rental Regulations and Zoning

If you have any questions about short term rental regulations or zoning in Lake Louise, the best resource to contact is:

Parks Canada Lake Louise Visitor Centre
Address: 201 Village Road, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0
Phone: 403-522-3833
Email: pc.lakelouiseinfo-infolakelouise.pc@canada.ca

The knowledgeable Parks Canada staff can provide guidance on business licensing, required documents, health and safety standards, and any other rules you need to be aware of as a short term rental operator in Banff National Park.

For questions related to taxes and levies, you can contact:

Canada Revenue Agency - GST Registration
Phone: 1-800-959-5525
Website: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/gst-hst-businesses.html

Alberta Tourism Levy Program
Phone: 780-427-3044
Email: tourismlevy@gov.ab.ca

These agencies can assist you with registering to collect and remit the necessary taxes on your short term rental revenue.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Lake Louise on Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think About Local Regulations?

While there aren't a huge number of online discussions specifically about short term rental regulations in Lake Louise, a few comments from hosts on Reddit and Bigger Pockets provide some insight into the operating environment:"

Lake Louise is a dream location for an Airbnb. The demand is incredibly high year-round. As long as you're diligent about following Parks Canada's rules, you shouldn't have any problems." - Reddit user /u/mountaingetaway3"

We've been running a VRBO in Lake Louise for 3 years now and it's been great. The licensing process with Parks Canada was very straightforward. They care more about safety than anything. Treat your neighbors with respect and enjoy the amazing setting!" - Bigger Pockets user LakeLouiseLandlord2"

One thing to keep in mind with short term rentals in Lake Louise is that the maximum occupancy is capped at 4 people, regardless of the size of your property. This can limit your earnings potential compared to other markets. But the high nightly rates help make up for it." - Reddit user /u/CanadianHostPro3"

The biggest challenge we've faced with our Lake Louise Airbnb is finding reliable cleaners. There's a lot of turnover with seasonal workers in the area. It's worth paying a premium for a good cleaning service that shows up on time and does quality work." - Bigger Pockets user STRMountainView2

The general sentiment seems to be that Lake Louise is an excellent place to operate a short term rental, as long as you're committed to following the rules and being a good neighbor. The high demand from tourists means occupancy and revenue potential is strong.

However, hosts also caution that operating in a national park does come with some additional responsibilities and limitations that may not apply in other markets. The 4 guest occupancy cap and potential for staffing challenges are a few things to be aware of.

Overall, Lake Louise can be a very profitable and rewarding place to run a short term rental business. With some careful planning and attention to detail, hosts can thrive in this stunning mountain destination. The key is to work in partnership with Parks Canada to preserve the natural environment and character of the community that makes Lake Louise so special.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.