Vancouver approves short-term rentals for principal residents, home insurance not required

Published: November 17, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Vancouver City Council announced its approval of short-term rentals, such as the popular platform Airbnb. The decision means rentals of 30 days or less are now allowed in principal residences in Vancouver.

Under new regulations to come into effect April 2018 will give city residents the ability to apply for and receive short-term rental licenses at a cost of $49 (and a one-time $54 administration fee). One of the main questions raised about the approval is what this means for residents who rent and their home insurance.

Speaking to Canadian Underwriter, Stefan Tirschler, product and underwriting manager at Square One Insurance Services said that “speaking to home insurance in general, in most jurisdictions, including B.C., there isn’t provincial legislation that forces people to purchase home, condo, renter/tenant insurance.”

Under provincial laws, customers are required to have home insurance when they mortgage a property. “That will be a sort of collateral source of motivation to purchase home insurance,” he said.

The city is “saying they will only allow you to rent part or all of your own primary residence, so it sort of stands to reason that people who are choosing to rent out part of their primary residence are relying on some degree on that supplemental income, so it’s important to choose a home insurance policy that can insure against that lost short-term rental,” Tirschler added.

Kaye Krishna, the City of Vancouver general manager of development, buildings and licensing, said on Wednesday the city advises renters to get proper home insurance, but admits it is not a requirement of the regulation.

“We have not delved into the details of the terms or coverage of insurance – that’s less of a municipal consideration.”

Vancouver officials believed action was needed as more than 6,000 illegal short-term rentals were operating in the city. The government says at least 70% of listings for short-term rentals will now be able to operate in a legal capacity.