At the March 25th, 2024 Regular Council Meeting, Council voted to opt-in to the Principal Residence Requirements outlined in the BC Provincial Bill 35 – Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act.

As Bill 35 is a piece of Provincial legislation, for specific inquiries about Bill 35 and how it may affect short-term rental operations, please contact the BC Ministry of Housing and visit their information page HERE.

To read more about the changes on Bowen Island, visit the Short-Term Rental Policy Project Page.

Short-Term Rentals on Bowen Island

A short-term rental (STR) is a dwelling unit, or portion of, that is rented for a period of less than 30 days by paying guests. STRs are typically advertised through online venues such as Airbnb, VRBO or They are not the same as long-term tenancies (aka long-term rentals) which are covered by BC tenancy agreements or commercial accommodation such as hotels or motels.

Prior to 2020, short-term rentals were restricted to Bed & Breakfast operations and the short-term rental of an entire dwelling was not permitted. In 2020 Bowen Island adopted the Short-Term Rental Policy. This policy permitted, for the first time on Bowen Island, the short-term rental of an entire residential dwelling under a term called Residential Guest Accommodation.

Types of Short-Term Rentals

In residential zones, two types of short-term rentals are permitted on Bowen Island. They are:

Image 2
Bed & Breakfast (B&B)Residential Guest Accommodation (RGA)
– permitted as home occupations
– can operate for 365 days per year
– must have a resident operator
– may have plug-in appliances but is not
permitted for entire dwellings
– allows the rental of an entire dwelling unit (i.e.
an entire home or suite) on a property
– limited to 120 days per calendar year
– previously did not require a resident operator
like B&B’s but will be affected by the Bill 35
Principal Residence Requirement

If you are looking for more information on the difference between a Bed and Breakfast and a Residential Guest Accommodation, visit this link.

If you know what type of short-term rental you want to provide, visit this link for business licencing information.

Principal Residence Requirement Changes

Following the resolution passed by Council on March 25th, 2024, Municipal staff wrote to the Province to opt-in to the Bill 35 Principal Residence Requirement. The principal residence requirement mandates that short-term rentals must be limited to a host’s principal residence and either a secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit. For the purposes of Bill 35, a principal residence is defined as “the residence in which an individual resides for a longer period of time in a calendar year than any other place”.

It will also be enforced by the BC Provincial Compliance and Enforcement Unit.

As part of the decision to opt-in to Bill 35, Council directed staff to amend our bylaws in order for them to conform with Bill 35’s principal residence requirement. This will occur over the next few months, in preparation for Bill 35 to come into effect on November 1, 2024.


A principal residence is the dwelling where an individual resides for the majority of the calendar year. To meet the Principal Residence Requirement, a short-term rental must occur only in the property host’s principal residence and in not more than one secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit on the property.

Bill 35 defines two types of “hosts”:

(a) A “property host” means a person who is legally entitled to possession of a property where short-term rental accommodation services are provided, and who has responsibility for arranging for the short-term rental offer.

(b) A “supplier host” can be the property host, and the following persons, if applicable:
(i) a person who, acting on behalf of, under the direction of or as agent of the property host, has responsibility for arranging for the short-term rental offer, which may include managing the short‑term rental accommodation services;
(ii) a prescribed person.

The Province of BC has confirmed that a principal resident can be a long-term tenant and does not have to be the property owner. This will be more clearly outlined when the Province releases its Provincial Registry Information later in 2024.

Yes, BIM Business Licences are still required to legally offer short-term rentals. More information on how the business licences may change as Bill 35 is implemented will be available soon.

The Bowen Island Municipality’s Bylaw Services Department will continue to enforce BIM Bylaws related to short-term rental operations.

The new Provincial Compliance Unit will enforce any requirements related to Bill 35. Hosts failing to comply with the regulations and bylaws may face fines or other enforcement actions.

Bill 35 principal residence requirements will come into effect on Bowen Island on November 1, 2024. It will also remain in effect unless a request is made to the Province from Bowen Island Mayor and Council to reverse the decision by March 31 of any potential future year.

As Bill 35 is provincial legislation, the Bowen Island Municipality and its staff can only offer general information and interpretations of Bill 35 and how it may affect specific properties.
Please contact the Ministry of Housing for specific inquiries. They can be reached at

If you have other questions about short-term rentals, please contact the planning department at:

604-947-4255 ext. 6