City of Vancouver now accepting short-term rental permit applications

January 17, 2024

The City of Vancouver is now accepting permit applications for its new short-term rental pilot program. The new application process follows Vancouver City Council’s adoption of a Short-Term Rental (STR) ordinance on Dec. 18, 2023, outlining new regulations and requirements for those operating STRs, like Airbnb’s and VRBO’s, in Vancouver. 

Until now, the City’s Land Use and Development Code, VMC Title 20, did not allow STRs in residential zones except as expressly authorized under the bed-and-breakfast provisions of VMC 20.830. Short-term rentals must now obtain a City business license and pay a $250 one-time permit fee. Due to the initial surge of applications that are anticipated with the ordinance now in effect, the City is allowing applicants a 30-day grace period to come into compliance.

Following the adoption of the STR Ordinance, the City mailed letters to 425 current short-term rentals operating within City limits containing information about the regulations and how to complete the permit process. The application and more information about new short-term rental requirements can be found at

The pilot program will be tested for 24 months to assess its effectiveness and determine what changes may be needed. To gauge its effectiveness, the City has established a set of goals, including:

  • Limiting the total number of STRs to not exceed 870 total units – equivalent to one percent of the City’s current total housing stock at the time of adoption – to preserve available housing for long-term housing needs.
  • Excluding STRs from any development receiving the Multifamily Tax Exemption incentive.
  • Ongoing compliance monitoring to ensure all STRs are compliant with required regulations.
  • Ongoing monitoring of impacts on the long-term rental market including impacts to housing affordability.
  • Minimizing public safety risks and possible noise and trash problems without creating additional work for the local police department and code enforcement personnel.
  • Monitoring the responsiveness of code compliance cases.
  • Ongoing stakeholder outreach to determine program effectiveness and inform future refinements.

A short-term rental is defined as a residential property or portion of a residential property (room, guesthouse, Accessory Dwelling Units, etc.) that is available to rent for stays of less than 30 days. This includes rentals available on websites such as Airbnb and VRBO. Within the last decade, the popularity of STRs has increased dramatically and while this increase has not been as dramatic in Vancouver as other cities, the number of STRs here has risen over time. 

Adoption of the City’s STR Ordinance is the result of a City Council request in Sept. 2021 asking City staff to develop a multi-year outreach and monitoring program to scope the STR market in Vancouver. Over the last two years, the project team worked with City Council, the Vancouver Planning Commission and the broader community to develop STR regulations that strike a balance between community housing needs and housing affordability with individual property rights, as well as creating a permit process to enable tracking of STRs and for individual complaints to be responded to.

Media contact:

Laura Shepard, Communications Director, 360-624-0747,