How to own an Airbnb in Canmore

How to own an Airbnb in Canmore

How to own an Airbnb in Canmore

This is a question I get so often from clients – How can I own an Airbnb or VRBO in Canmore? What are the Canmore Airbnb rules?

If you’re anything like my family and I, you love to use Airbnb & VRBO anywhere you visit. It’s a great way to have a local stay at your destination, and an opportunity to truly live like a resident while you’re there. Many people visiting Canmore are thinking the exact same thing, choosing to stay at a Canmore Airbnb or VRBO rather than a hotel.

With travel to Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies increasing year after year, Airbnb / VRBO short-term rentals in Canmore are gaining more and more momentum and becoming increasingly popular with tourists. This growing demand has obviously attracted the attention of smart Canmore real estate investors as well.

Today, let’s explore how a savvy Canmore real estate investor can get in on the Canmore Airbnb & VRBO market here in the Canadian Rockies.

  • Why can’t you have an Airbnb / VRBO anywhere you want in Canmore or Banff?
  • Canmore Short-term vs. Long-term Rentals
  • Canmore Tourist Home vs. Hotel Condominium
  • Earning Potential

Why can’t you have an Airbnb / VRBO anywhere you want in Canmore or Banff?

The truth is, there are many reasons why short-term rentals are so highly regulated here.

The towns of Canmore & Banff, like other mountain communities in North America, find themselves under a major shortage when it comes to housing for full-time residents and seasonal workers – particularly affordable housing. Our beautiful mountain landscape means the space on which there is to build homes is finite. When you couple this with the world-class lifestyle we enjoy here, housing prices have risen steadily for many years.

Both communities have a large number of traditional operators in the short-term rental space. These stakeholders include hotels, motels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds. All were reluctant to see their business dissolve to a fast-paced, initially unregulated industry.

Banff Airbnb / Banff VRBO

As the town of Banff is situated in Banff National Park, it has some unique rules of its own – particularly the need to reside. For anyone to be eligible to live inside Banff National Park, you must live & work there. So if your home is rented as a Banff Airbnb or VRBO, you could hardly be understood to be living there. Illegal Airbnb-ing has been heavily enforced here since 2014, with fines up to $5,000.

Canmore Airbnb / Canmore VBRO

While Canmore does now allow Airbnb & VRBO, it has been a contentious battle with local residents and administration for the above reasons. Enforcement began in 2017 for illegal Canmore Airbnb / VRBO with fines starting at $2,500 going up to $5,000. Even just advertising your home on Airbnb or VRBO when not properly zoned can result in a fine.

Thankfully though, today there are lots of great Canmore short-term rental opportunities available to savvy investors.

Canmore Short-term Rentals vs. Long term Rentals

The Town of Canmore distinguishes between these two as essentially less than 30 days = short term, greater than 30 days = long term.

If your property is in the vast majority of residential zones in Canmore, it can only be rented on a long-term basis. This means like a standard rental, month to month or via yearly leases etc. This is a great option for any Canmore home owner who may be away for part of the year, or who prefers traditional real estate investing. Two great companies to manage monthly rentals are Peka Property Management and Asset West Property Management. They can handle everything, from marketing to finding and managing tenants for the duration of their lease. Some rentals can command over $7,000/month during high season here in the Canadian Rockies.

Canmore Tourist Home vs. Canmore Hotel Condominium

The two types of Canmore real estate that can allow for Airbnb / VRBO / Short term rental are Tourist Homes and Hotel Condominiums. Note: Always speak with a Canmore Real Estate Agent to confirm if any property could be a viable Canmore Airbnb.

How to own an airbnb in Canmore
Canmore Short-term Rental Zoning

Canmore Tourist Home

This is the most flexible zoning if you want to operate a Canmore Airbnb or VRBO. This type of property is the most ideal for operating an Airbnb in Canmore.

From the Town of Canmore website:

What is a tourist home?

  • A tourist home is any dwelling that can be used as a permanent residence or for short-term stays. The formal definition of a tourist home is: “a dwelling unit operated as a temporary place to stay, with or without compensation, and includes all vacation rentals of a dwelling unit.”
  • The characteristics that distinguish a tourist home from a dwelling unit used as a residence may include any of the following:
  • the intent of the occupant to stay for short-term vacation purposes rather than use the property as a residence; and/or
  • the commercial nature of a tourist home; and/or
  • the management or advertising of the dwelling unit as a tourist home or “vacation rental,” on websites such as Airbnb or VRBO; and/or
  • the use of a system of reservations, deposits, confirmations, credit cards, or other forms of electronic payment.

Canmore Hotel Condominium

This property type is zoned in Canmore primarily as “Commercial.” The intent of these properties is to be used only as short-term rentals. This means that while you may own the property, you technically cannot live on the premises on a full-time or primary basis.

While many owners opt to maintain these properties for their exclusive use when they’re in town, one of the key advantages of them is the ability to place them into a “rental pool” where the unit is managed as a turn-key rental much like a hotel including a front desk. The rental pool takes care of all marketing, bookings, cleanings, etc when not in use by the owner.

If you want to try your hand at self-management, for many properties, you can manage a Canmore hotel condo via Airbnb or VRBO. Often when you purchase the unit, you have the option to keep it in the rental pool or you can take it out and mange it through a third party or even yourself.

Note: Always speak with a Canmore Real Estate Agent to confirm if any property could be a viable Canmore Airbnb.

Earning Potential!

A Canmore Airbnb / VRBO / Short Term / Vacation Rental can be an incredible revenue generating asset. Looking at high season (May-Sep) weekend dates on Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.ca/canmore-canada/stays), some one-bedroom units are renting for $500.00+/night and some three-bedroom units are renting for $1,000+/night. Considering the potential to rent a property for nearly every night in high season, it’s no wonder Canmore Airbnb properties are a popular real estate investment today.

Let’s get in touch.

Feel free to give me a call, text, or email today if you have any questions regarding rental properties in Canmore. I would be happy to advise you in finding the perfect Canmore property, whatever your needs may be.

Like this post? Check out some of my other articles to learn more:

Canmore Buyer Agent – Dan McGuire

What are the Canmore Airbnb Rules?

Feel free to call, text, or email Dan today for no-pressure advice,
tips and insights into the Canmore & Banff real estate market.

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