Understanding Canmore Zoning
Canmore has housing zones, as set out in the land use bylaw, to balance the need for guest accommodation and residential owners’ enjoyment of their properties. Short term rentals (less than one month) are only allowed for certain properties that can be owned individually, mainly condos, zoned as Vacation or Tourist. Long term rentals (monthly) are allowed in Residential zones.
Condos, townhomes, and detached homes with this zoning can either be lived in full-time or rented out on a monthly basis. Accessory Dwelling Units (suites) within Residential zoned properties can also be rented on a monthly basis. Rentals of less than one month are prohibited. Rentals of Residential zone properties are intended for full time residents.
Canmore has several Residential zones, for example, R1, R1(b) - Basement Suite, R2 (Duplex), R4 (Fourplex), Multi-Family, etc.
Canmore’s 2020 land use bylaw requires all new Residential zoned homes to have an Accessory Dwelling Unit. This requirement can be waived with special approval from the Town of Canmore. The Town is encouraging the development of suites to provide additional housing stock for full time residents.
Vacation zone properties are mainly hotel type condos where the units are owned individually and were designed for short term rentals. Owners can use their unit personally for a certain number of nights per year. Many of the hotel condo buildings were initially set up with a management company and a rental pool; however, many of these rental pools have been replaced with owners utilizing web sites like AirBNB and VRBO. There are many different ownership arrangements, including fractional ownership.
The value of Vacation zoned properties has increased in recent years due to higher average nightly rents and lower management costs with booking web sites. Vacation zoned properties are popular with individual investors.
Tourist zone properties are typically similar to Vacation; however, the owner has the right to live in the unit full time. An annual election with the Town can be made by the owner to have the property treated as Residential or Vacation. Vacation zone properties have annual property taxes that are nearly double Residential.
Tourist zone properties, with their inherent flexibility, typically sell for slightly more than a similar Vacation zone property. In some buildings, both Vacation and Tourist sone properties can exist.