Why are we looking at licensing

The emergence of the sharing economy (vacation rentals, car sharing, ride sharing, etc.), enabled through web technology, has increased the availability of rooms and full houses for rent on a short-term basis. Short-term rentals (STRs) are now available in most cities in the world, including Calgary, resulting in opportunities and challenges for residents and neighborhoods. With the expansion of this sharing economy, citizens and Councillors are looking at what this means for residential neighbourhoods and the responsibilities of homeowners who operate short-term rentals.With this in mind, we are exploring tiered licensing categories for short-term rentals.

The purpose of licensing is to

  • Ensure the safety and protection of both consumers and neighbouring residents
  • Amending our current bylaws to define a short-term rental licence
  • Revise the definition of Lodging house to reflect the current use of this type of accommodation
  • Establish expectations for operators to ensure consumer safety and protection
  • Create more clarity for existing licenses for accommodation operators such as Bed & Breakfast

Project objectives

  • Create a tiered licence category for short-term rentals with input from STR hosts/operators
  • Amend the Lodging house licence category in the Business Licence Bylaw
  • Launch a public education campaign following approval of the above bylaw amendments to ensure residents and hosts understand their rights and responsibilities

How your input will be used and next steps

Your contributions will be used in the development of the tiered licence categories. Watch this site for the what we heard report and a what we did report in late May.


Thank you to all who provided feedback. We have reviewed all your comments and input. It is summarized in this What We Heard Report.


We are in the process of developing the licensing agreements and categories for short-term rentals and want to hear from you on requirements as we work through our recommendations.

What we are proposingWhy?
1. A tiered licence category for short-term rentals (STR).Short-term rentals have grown in popularity and now number between 3,300 and 5,800 in The City. Licencing short-term rentals ensures guests, owners and communities have consistent standards and safety.

2. Amendments to the Lodging house definition. The Lodging house licence was created before the development of short-term rentals. With a rapidly changing accommodations industry, Lodging houses need to be revised to fit within a continuum of accommodation options for citizens and tourists.

1. Please identify which statement(s) applies to you (check all that apply): Required
2. As a host, what additional requirements do you believe would enhance the overall safety of guests and your community (check all that apply)?

Below are three common scenarios for operators who are involved in the STR sharing economy:

1) The host lives in the home where they rent STRs ;

2) The host has a secondary residence where they do not live but rent as a STR; or

3) The host has a large residence, capable of hosting 10 people or more a night, which requires additional safety inspections.

The standard business licence fee charged by The City is $191.

3. How do you think a tiered licence category should be structured?

In some cases, short-term rentals have been occupied by guests who sublet the property to other individuals without the owner’s knowledge. When complaints are received by The City from citizens regarding these properties, speaking with the owner offers the quickest resolution.

4. When short-term rentals are not occupied by the owner, what option should an owner ensure is available to The City in the event an emergency or complaint has occurred and a resolution is required.
5. What is the appropriate number of days a guest can consecutively stay in a short-term rental?
6. As a host, would you be willing to contribute to a local tax to support local tourism and businesses in Calgary?

The Lodging house definition was created before short-term rentals became an active part of the accommodations market. With the creation of short-term licence categories, Lodging houses are being redefined.

7. What criteria should be evaluated to ensure the operator, individuals and community are safe (check all that apply)?

The City seeks to create a fair and compliant environment for citizens to participate in opportunities created through the sharing economy. By identifying existing activities, The City can evaluate regulation and proactively deliver solutions to citizens.

8. Do you participate in other sharing economy activities?
9. How would you like to receive future information about the short-term rentals and Lodging houses?

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.