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Winnipeg Short-Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in Winnipeg

Winnipeg has implemented new regulations for short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO that will take effect on April 1, 2024. These rules aim to create a fair playing field across the accommodation industry while ensuring guest safety and addressing community concerns.

To legally launch and operate a short-term rental business in Winnipeg, hosts will need to obtain a business license from the city. The licensing process opens in January 2024, and fees range from $260 for a 1-bedroom primary residence up to $1,560 for a 6-bedroom non-primary property.

The regulations distinguish between properties based on when they were purchased and if they are the host's primary residence. For properties acquired after February 23, 2023, short-term rentals are only permitted if it is the operator's primary residence, with some exceptions in certain zoning areas.

For pre-existing properties purchased on or before February 23, 2023, hosts can operate up to 4 non-primary residences as short-term rentals if they are permanent Winnipeg residents or a locally-owned corporation. Renters can also list their rental units with landlord permission.

All short-term rentals face restrictions like a maximum of 29 consecutive nights per booking and limits on the number of guests based on bedroom count. Hosts must comply with rules regarding noise, parking, posting emergency plans, and providing information on human trafficking awareness.

Platforms like Airbnb and VRBO that facilitate short-term rentals must obtain a separate platform license and maintain records on Winnipeg listings for city audits. They also must collect and remit Winnipeg's 5% accommodation tax from guests.

While the new rules add some regulatory hurdles, the short-term rental market in Winnipeg has grown significantly, with over 1,200 active listings as of early 2023. By licensing and limiting the density of investor-owned rentals, the city hopes to strike a balance between this economic activity and community impacts.

Established hosts have mixed views, with some supporting clear regulations despite the added costs, while others feel overly burdened, especially those operating rentals outside Winnipeg. Compliance will be enforced through fines, license suspensions/revocations, and a "three-strike" policy for problem properties.

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Winnipeg

Under Winnipeg's new short-term rental regulations taking effect on April 1, 2024, all hosts must obtain a valid Short-Term Rental Business License from the city. The licensing requirements vary based on several factors:

Primary Residence Rentals:

  • Hosts renting out part or all of their primary residence must obtain a Primary Residence Short-Term Rental Business License.
  • License fees range from $260 for a 1-bedroom rental up to $520 for 4 or more bedrooms.

Non-Primary Residence Rentals:

  1. For properties acquired before February 23, 2023, hosts can obtain a Non-Primary Residence Short-Term Rental Business License to operate up to 4 rental units if they are permanent Winnipeg residents or a locally-owned corporation.
  2. License fees range from $780 for a 1-bedroom rental up to $1,560 for 4 or more bedrooms.
  3. For properties acquired after February 23, 2023, non-primary residence short-term rentals are generally prohibited, with some exceptions in certain zoning areas.

In addition to the business license, hosts must meet several other requirements, including:

  1. Providing proof of property ownership or a signed lease agreement allowing short-term rentals.
  2. Submitting a detailed floor plan and site plan for the rental property.
  3. Obtaining a Development Permit if any renovations or changes are made to the property for short-term rental use.
  4. Passing a fire and safety inspection conducted by the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.
  5. Registering with the provincial HostCompliance program for tax remittance.

Licenses must be renewed annually, and hosts are required to display their license number on all advertisements and listings for their short-term rental property.

Failure to obtain the proper licensing can result in fines starting at $1,000 for the first offense, with higher penalties for repeat violations. The city also has the authority to suspend or revoke licenses for non-compliance with the regulations.

By implementing this licensing system, Winnipeg aims to ensure short-term rentals meet safety standards, limit their density in residential areas, and provide a level playing field with the traditional accommodation industry. Hosts who follow the licensing requirements can legally operate their short-term rental businesses while contributing to the local economy.

Required Documents for Winnipeg Short-Term Rentals

To obtain a Short-Term Rental Business License in Winnipeg, hosts must provide several required documents as part of their application. These documents help the city verify the property's eligibility, ownership, and compliance with local regulations.

One of the primary documents required is proof of ownership or a valid lease agreement for the rental property. For owners, this can be in the form of a title deed, mortgage statement, or property tax bill. Renters must provide a signed lease agreement allowing for short-term rental activity and including the landlord's written permission.

In addition to ownership documents, hosts must submit detailed floor plans and site plans for the rental property. These plans should clearly indicate the layout of the unit, including the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and any other relevant spaces. The site plan should show the property's location, parking arrangements, and any outdoor amenities.

Hosts may also need to provide additional documentation if they plan to make any renovations or changes to the property specifically for short-term rental use. In such cases, they must obtain a Development Permit from the City of Winnipeg and submit the approved plans as part of their license application.

Another crucial document is proof of registration with the provincial HostCompliance program. This program ensures that short-term rental hosts are remitting the appropriate taxes and fees to the government, including the provincial sales tax and the city's 5% accommodation tax.

Depending on the type of property and its location, hosts may need to provide additional documentation, such as:

  1. Condominium board approval or a No Objection Certificate if the rental unit is part of a condominium complex.
  2. Proof of insurance coverage for short-term rental activity.
  3. A detailed Operational Plan outlining guest management procedures, noise control measures, and emergency protocols.

Hosts need to ensure that all required documents are accurate, up-to-date, and properly formatted before submitting their applications. Incomplete or incorrect documentation can delay or reject the licensing process.

Many hosts in Winnipeg choose to work with local property management companies or legal professionals who are familiar with the city's requirements and can assist in gathering and preparing the necessary documents. This can help streamline the process and ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.

Winnipeg Short-Term Rental Taxes

Short-term rental hosts in Winnipeg are subject to various taxes and fees imposed by the municipal and provincial governments. Hosts must understand and comply with these tax obligations to avoid potential penalties and legal consequences.

Winnipeg has implemented a 5% Accommodation Tax on all short-term rental bookings at the municipal level. This tax applies to the total rental amount, including any cleaning fees or additional charges. Hosts are responsible for collecting this tax from their guests and remitting it to the city.

Short-term rental hosts in Winnipeg must register with the provincial HostCompliance program to facilitate the collection and remittance of the Accommodation Tax. This program provides a centralized platform for hosts to report their rental income and pay the applicable taxes, including the Accommodation Tax and the provincial sales tax (PST).

In addition to the Accommodation Tax, hosts must also collect and remit the PST on their short-term rental income. The current PST rate in Manitoba is 7%. Hosts can either register directly with the provincial government or use the HostCompliance program to handle their PST remittance.

It's important to note that the Accommodation Tax and PST are separate from the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is also applicable to short-term rental income. Hosts must register for a GST account with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) if their annual rental income exceeds the mandatory registration threshold and charge GST on all bookings.

Failure to comply with these tax obligations can result in significant fines and penalties from the City of Winnipeg, the Province of Manitoba, and the CRA. The authorities have the power to conduct audits and inspections to ensure compliance with tax regulations.

To ensure accurate tax reporting and remittance, short-term rental hosts in Winnipeg should maintain detailed records of their rental income, expenses, and guest stays. Many hosts choose to work with local tax professionals or property management companies to navigate the complexities of the tax system and ensure they are meeting all their obligations.

By understanding and complying with the various tax requirements, short-term rental hosts in Winnipeg can operate their businesses responsibly and contribute to the local economy while avoiding any legal or financial issues.

Manitoba Wide Short-Term Rental Rules

While the City of Winnipeg has implemented specific regulations for short-term rentals, some provincial rules and guidelines apply across Manitoba.

At the provincial level, the Manitoba government has established a framework for regulating short-term rental accommodations through the Tourism Accommodation Services Act and the associated regulations. This legislation aims to ensure consistent safety, quality, and consumer protection for guests across the province.

One of the key requirements under this act is the mandatory registration of all short-term rental properties with the provincial HostCompliance program. This program is a centralized platform for hosts to report their rental income, collect and remit applicable taxes, and comply with provincial regulations.

In addition to registration, short-term rental properties in Manitoba must meet certain safety standards, including the installation of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. Hosts are also required to provide guests with emergency contact information and evacuation procedures.

Another important aspect of the provincial regulations is the emphasis on consumer protection. Short-term rental hosts must disclose accurate and transparent information about their properties, including amenities, services, and any additional fees or charges. Guests have the right to receive a clear and detailed rental agreement outlining the terms and conditions of their stay.

Furthermore, the provincial government has established guidelines for collecting and remittance taxes related to short-term rentals. In addition to the municipal taxes imposed by individual cities or municipalities, hosts must also collect and remit the provincial sales tax (PST) on their rental income.

It's worth noting that while the provincial regulations set a baseline for short-term rental operations, municipalities in Manitoba may have additional specific requirements and bylaws. For example, the City of Winnipeg has implemented its own licensing system and zoning restrictions for short-term rentals, which hosts must comply with in addition to the provincial rules.

Hosts operating short-term rentals in multiple locations across Manitoba should research each municipality's specific regulations and bylaws to ensure they are fully compliant. Failure to follow local and provincial rules can result in fines, penalties, and potential legal consequences.

By adhering to the Manitoba-wide short-term rental rules and staying up-to-date with any changes or updates, hosts can ensure they are operating legally and contributing to the growth of the province's tourism industry while providing a safe and enjoyable experience for their guests.

Does Winnipeg Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions among hosts on platforms like Bigger Pockets and Reddit, Winnipeg appears to take a relatively balanced approach to enforcing its short-term rental regulations compared to some other major cities. While the city aims to ensure compliance with the new rules, it seems to prioritize education and cooperation over heavy-handed enforcement, at least initially.

One host on Reddit shared their perspective: "Winnipeg seems to be trying to strike a middle ground with these regulations. They're not as lax as some cities but not as draconian as others. From what I've seen, they're focusing on getting hosts licensed and compliant before cracking down hard on violators."

Another host on Bigger Pockets commented: "I think Winnipeg is reasonably Airbnb-friendly, especially for hosts who follow the rules. The licensing fees are a bit steep, but the city seems open to working with responsible operators. They're not just shutting everything down like some places."

While some hosts have expressed concerns about the added costs and paperwork associated with the new regulations, there is a general consensus that Winnipeg is taking a more measured approach compared to cities that have implemented outright bans or severe restrictions on short-term rentals.

That said, the city has made it clear that it will enforce the rules, particularly when it comes to addressing problem properties or hosts who blatantly disregard the regulations. Fines, license suspensions, and a "three-strike" policy for repeat offenders are all part of the enforcement toolkit.

Compared to cities like Toronto or Vancouver, which have faced significant backlash and legal challenges over their short-term rental regulations, Winnipeg seems to be viewed as a relatively "Airbnb-friendly" environment for hosts who operate responsibly and comply with the licensing requirements.

However, it's important to note that the new regulations are still in their early stages, and the city's enforcement approach may evolve over time. As more hosts enter the licensed market and the impact on neighborhoods becomes clearer, Winnipeg may adjust its stance accordingly.

For now, though, the general sentiment among hosts on these forums is that Winnipeg's approach to short-term rental regulations is reasonable and enforceable, striking a balance between supporting the industry and addressing community concerns. Responsible hosts who follow the rules can likely operate without excessive scrutiny or crackdowns as long as they maintain good standing with the city.

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in Winnipeg

Starting a short-term rental business in Winnipeg requires careful planning and adherence to the city's new regulations. Here's a numbered list of steps to help you get started:

  1. Determine your eligibility: Verify if your property qualifies for short-term rental operations based on the city's zoning and ownership requirements. Properties acquired after February 23, 2023, may have additional restrictions.
  2. Research the market and regulations: Familiarize yourself with the short-term rental market in Winnipeg, including demand, competition, and the specific regulations outlined by the city.
  3. Obtain necessary approvals: If your property is located within a condominium or homeowners' association, obtain written approval from the governing body to operate a short-term rental.
  4. Prepare your property: Ensure your rental property meets all safety and building code requirements, such as having proper smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. Make any necessary repairs or upgrades to create a comfortable and inviting space for guests.
  5. Apply for a Short-Term Rental Business License: Submit an application for the appropriate license type (Primary Residence or Non-Primary Residence) to the City of Winnipeg. Provide all required documents, including proof of ownership or a valid lease agreement, floor plans, and site plans.
  6. Pass inspections: Schedule and pass the required fire and safety inspections conducted by the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.
  7. Register with HostCompliance: Register your short-term rental business with the provincial HostCompliance program to facilitate tax remittance and compliance with provincial regulations.
  8. Create listings and market your property: Once you have obtained your license and completed all necessary registrations, create listings for your short-term rental property on popular platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. Ensure that you accurately represent your property and comply with all advertising regulations.
  9. Collect and remit taxes: Collect the 5% Accommodation Tax and the provincial sales tax (PST) from your guests, and remit these taxes to the appropriate authorities through the HostCompliance program.
  10. Manage bookings and guest communication: Develop a system for managing bookings, guest communication, and check-in/check-out procedures. Ensure that you provide guests with all required information, including emergency contacts and evacuation procedures.

It's important to note that Winnipeg's licensing and registration process can be complex, and requirements may change over time. It's advisable to work with local real estate professionals or property management companies who are familiar with the latest regulations and can guide you through the process.

By following these steps and complying with all applicable rules and regulations, you can establish a legal and successful short-term rental business in Winnipeg, contributing to the local tourism industry while providing your guests a safe and enjoyable experience.

Who to Contact in Winnipeg about Short-Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

If you have questions or need assistance regarding short-term rental regulations and zoning in Winnipeg, there are several key contacts and resources available:

City of Winnipeg Short-Term Rental Licensing Office
Phone: 311 (within Winnipeg) or 204-986-5311 (outside Winnipeg)
Email: shortterm.rental@winnipeg.ca

This office is dedicated to handling inquiries and applications related to short-term rental licensing in Winnipeg. They can provide information on the licensing process, requirements, and zoning regulations.

Winnipeg Zoning and Permits Office
Phone: 204-986-5140
Email: ppd-zoning@winnipeg.ca
Address: 31 – 30 Fort Street, Winnipeg, MB R3C 4X7

You can contact the Zoning and Permits Office for specific questions related to zoning and development permits for short-term rentals.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service
Phone: 204-986-6350
Email: fireinspections@winnipeg.ca

This department is responsible for conducting fire and safety inspections for short-term rental properties. They can provide guidance on meeting the necessary safety requirements.

HostCompliance Manitoba
Phone: 1-888-905-0554
Email: manitoba@hostcompliance.com

The HostCompliance program is the provincial platform for short-term rental registration and tax remittance. They can assist with the registration process and answer questions related to tax obligations.

Local Real Estate Agencies and Property Management Companies:

Consider reaching out to reputable real estate agencies or property management companies that specialize in short-term rentals in Winnipeg. They can offer valuable insights, guidance, and assistance throughout the licensing and operational process.

It's important to note that regulations and contact information may change over time, so it's advisable to verify the most current details directly with the relevant authorities. Building relationships with local officials and professionals can help you stay informed and navigate the complexities of operating a short-term rental business in Winnipeg.

Additionally, it's recommended to consult with legal professionals or experienced property managers who have in-depth knowledge of the local laws and regulations to ensure you are fully compliant and avoid any potential issues or penalties.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Winnipeg on Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think about Local Regulations?

We can turn to popular online forums like Reddit and Bigger Pockets to gain insight into how short-term rental hosts in Winnipeg perceive the local regulations. Here are a few relevant discussions and perspectives:

Reddit - r/Winnipeg - "New Short-Term Rental Regulations"

In this thread, hosts discuss the impact of Winnipeg's new short-term rental regulations that take effect in April 2024. Some express frustration with the licensing fees and paperwork, while others see the regulations as a necessary step to address community concerns. One host comments, "The fees are a bit steep, but at least the city is trying to create a level playing field instead of just banning Airbnbs outright."

Bigger Pockets - "Winnipeg Short-Term Rental Licensing"

This post dives into the specifics of Winnipeg's licensing requirements, with hosts sharing their experiences and advice. Some note that the process can be time-consuming but manageable, with one stating, "As long as you have all your documents in order and your property meets the safety standards, the licensing process is straightforward, if a bit bureaucratic."

Reddit - r/AirbnbHosts - "Winnipeg Hosts - Thoughts on New Regs?"

In this thread, Winnipeg hosts discuss strategies for adapting to the city's updated regulations. Some share tips for navigating the licensing process, while others debate the fairness of the rules, particularly for non-primary residence rentals. One host argues, "I understand the need for regulations, but the restrictions on investor-owned properties seem a bit excessive."

Bigger Pockets - "Winnipeg STR Regulations - Impact on Investors"

This recent post explores the potential impact of Winnipeg's regulations on real estate investors who own short-term rental properties. Hosts express mixed reactions, with some supporting the city's efforts to limit the density of investor-owned rentals, while others argue it unfairly restricts their ability to operate and generate income.

Reddit - r/WinnipegRentals - "Landlord Perspective on Airbnb Regs"

In this thread on the Winnipeg Rentals subreddit, landlords and property managers discuss the implications of the new regulations for traditional long-term rentals. One landlord comments, "I'm glad the city is addressing the issue of entire units being taken off the long-term rental market for Airbnb. It's been driving up rents and making it harder for tenants to find affordable housing."

Overall, the discussions on Reddit and Bigger Pockets reveal a range of opinions among Winnipeg short-term rental hosts regarding the local regulations. While some see the rules as necessary and manageable, others find them burdensome and overly restrictive, particularly for non-primary residence rentals and real estate investors.

As the city continues to implement and enforce these regulations, it will be important to consider the perspectives of hosts, landlords, and the broader community to strike the right balance between supporting the short-term rental industry and addressing concerns around housing affordability and neighborhood impacts.

Disclaimer: While we here at BNBCalc strive to keep all of our city regulation guides updated and accurate with all the latest local laws, we still do not suggest using them as your sole or primary source for local regulations. We also do not recommend you rely on the third-party sources we link to or reference, and we are not responsible for any of the information on these third-party sites. These guides are for entertainment purposes only and only provide basic information and should not be considered as legal advice.

We highly recommend directly contacting the responsible parties for each city and hearing what their officials have to say. Ultimately, it's your responsibility as an investor to ensure you fully comply with the local laws, and it's best to speak with professionals before making an investment decision.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.