Short-Term Rental and Bed & Breakfast Review

The City of Nanaimo is currently reviewing its Zoning and Business Licence regulations as they relate to short-term rentals and bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation. Short-term rentals refers to the rental of a room or an entire residential dwelling unit on a temporary basis (i.e., less than 30 days) often through an online platform such as Airbnb, HomeAway or Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) . 

This work is a direct recommendation of the Affordable Housing Strategy (AHS). The review will also address requests from hotel operators to require licensing for B&Bs, and to respond to gaps in the City’s existing regulations that do not address the potential social and economic impacts of short-term rental accommodation. The intention of the project is to determine if bylaw changes are required to address short-term rentals in Nanaimo and as required to make recommendations to Council for bylaw changes.

Thank you to those residents, property owners, business owners and short-term rental and B&B operators who attended the November 21, 2020 Open House at the Departure Bay Kin Hut. The information provided will be immensely valuable as the City moves forward in the assessment of zoning and business licence regulations for short-term accommodation. The Open House panels displayed at the event are available for viewing under the Documents tab. 

On 2020-OCT-26, the City of Nanaimo Governance and Priorities Committee received a report and presentation regarding regulating short-term rental accommodation.  Council requested that Staff consult further with stakeholders and the public regarding Council’s recommended option before returning to Council with bylaw amendments.  

Following Council’s direction, Staff launched a revised short-term rental survey using the REIMAGINE Nanaimo engagement platform that was open between 2021-APR-07 and 2021-MAY-12. The survey focused on gauging public support for the proposed land use and business licence recommendations related to the regulation of short-term rental accommodation. A total of 484 people responded to the survey, with 461 completing all questions.

In addition to the survey, Staff held discussions by phone or Zoom with 21 interested stakeholders, including existing and future short-term rental operators, the Nanaimo Hospitality Association, Vancouver Island University (VIU), the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH), and the Nanaimo Family Life Association.

On 2021-SEP-21, the City of Nanaimo's Council received a report regarding short-term rental bylaw amendments. Following Council direction, Zoning Amendment Bylaw 2021 No.4500.186 received first and second reading; and Off-Street Parking Regulations Amendment Bylaw 2021 No. 7266.01 received first, second, and third reading.  Council also confirmed that a business licence is required for all short-term rental accommodation, including bed and breakfasts.  Staff were also directed to prepare an explanatory guide and business declaration form for Nanaimo residents interested in operating a short-term rental, including a bed and breakfast.

The bylaw amendments were included on the 2021-OCT-21 Public Hearing agenda.  Immediately following the hearing the Zoning and Parking amendment bylaws received third reading.  Please note, Council members cannot accept any further information or submissions after the close of the Public Hearing; this is to allow a fair process as established by provincial case law.   Please direct any questions or comments regarding the short-term rental review directly to Staff at or by calling 250-755-4491.

Staff are currently working on Short-Term Rental Operator Guidelines, including Frequently Asked Questions and a Business Licence Application checklist, which will be shared on this page when completed. 


  • Progress

    A report regarding short-term rental bylaw amendments was included on the 2021-SEP-21 Council Meeting agenda.

    Following Council direction, Zoning Amendment Bylaw 2021 No. 4500.186 received first and second reading. The Bylaw amendments were included on the 2021-OCT-21 Public Hearing agenda. Immediately following the Public Hearing, Zoning Amendment Bylaw 2021 No. 4500.186 received third reading. Ministry of Transportation approval is required before the bylaw can receive fourth and final reading (adoption). 


  • Documents
  • Details
  • Background

    Short-Term Rentals in Nanaimo

    The Affordable Housing Discussion Paper, which provided the research to support the Affordable Housing Strategy’s policy recommendations, found that there were 416 homes or rooms advertised for short-term rental in Nanaimo towards the end of 2017.  More recent, 2018 Air DNA statistics indicate up to 620 short-term rental listings in Nanaimo.  Over two-thirds of those listings were for an entire home, with the remainder listed as private room rentals.  Eight-six percent of entire home listings were rented for less than half a year, 61 percent for less than 90 nights a year.

    Tourism Nanaimo’s Summer 2017 profile reported that ten percent of Nanaimo visitors who stayed overnight stayed in a vacation rental or guest house.  The average length of stay is 5.1 days.  A profile for 2018 and 2019 have not yet been completed.  Nanaimo’s current rental vacancy rate of 2.4% (November 2018) is well below the 5% threshold indicator of a healthy rental housing market. This demonstrates that there is a continued need for more long-term rental housing in Nanaimo

    Bed and Breakfast

    Section 16.6 of the Zoning Bylaw defines a Bed and Breakfast as the “partial use of a single residential dwelling for transient tourist accommodation in which rooms are rented on a short-term basis, and may include the provision of breakfast served on the premises.” This definition specifically excludes the rental of accommodation to one party for more than 14 days. Bed and breakfast facilities may be established in any single residential dwelling, as long as the dwelling is a permitted use and the operator lives in the dwelling unit. There is a limit on the number of guests and rooms permitted, depending on the zoning of the property.  Bed and Breakfasts do not currently require a business licence in the City of Nanaimo.

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