Short-Term Rentals

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Please be advised that on February 21, 2023, Regional Council approved amendments to the Regional Plan, Secondary Municipal Planning Strategies and all Land Use By-laws to establish consistent region-wide policies and regulations for short-term rentals. The changes to municipal planning documents are still subject to ministerial review and will not take effect until September 1, 2023. Please review the staff report for more information. Should you have any questions regarding short-term rentals on your property or in your neighbourhood, please call 311.


Short-Term Rentals (STRs) are temporary overnight accommodations rented out for a few nights or weeks at a time. In recent years, the prevalence and popularity of STRs has grown through online platforms like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. While STRs provide a unique form of tourist accommodation and can have benefits for the local economy, their recent popularity raises concerns about their impact on residential neighborhoods and the availability of properties for long-term rental.

On September 30, 2020 Regional Council directed staff to:

  1. Amend the Regional Plan and all applicable secondary municipality planning strategies and land use By-laws to establish consistent regional-wide policies, definitions, and regulations for STRs in residential areas; and
  2. Develop STR registration requirements

This direction was in response to the September 2020 staff report, which provided a jurisdictional review of STR legislation throughout Canada and the USA, along with the results of the 2019 survey. The September 2020 staff report recommended that, in developing STR regulations, staff should consider the following:

  1. Require all STRs to register with the Municipality. This would include STRs that are located within the host’s primary residence and STRs located in the hosts secondary residence (cottage) or income property(ies);
  2. Within residential zones/neighbourhoods, only permit STRs in the host’s primary residences;
  3. Within neighbourhoods where hotels or other types of tourist accommodations are already permitted, allow commercial STRs; and
  4. Consider modified provisions for STRs in rural areas.

Project Status

On January 24, 2023, Council approved first reading for the proposed amendment to municipal planning documents to establish consistent region-wide policies and regulations for short-term rentals. Council further directed staff to

1) prepare a staff report that explores approaches to tourist accommodations in rural parts of the Municipality that are outside of the urban service area boundary; and

2) provide a supplementary report so that Council may consider short-term rentals in secondary units on the same lot as a resident’s primary dwelling, and identify proactive enforcement to short-term rentals, including staff requirements and funding options required to carry out the approach.

On February 21, 2023, Regional Council approved amendments to the Regional Plan, Secondary Municipal Planning Strategies and all Land Use By-laws to establish consistent region-wide policies and regulations for short-term rentals. The changes to municipal planning documents are still subject to ministerial review and will not take effect until September 1, 2023. Please review the staff report for more information.

Staff will also be returning to Council in the upcoming months to present a staff report regarding the implications of allowing STRs in secondary dwellings located on the host’s property and to provide additional information on how municipal STR rules will be enforced. Additionally, over the next several months staff will explore approaches to tourist accommodations in rural parts of the municipality that are outside of the urban service area boundary.


Questions? Want more information?

Should you have any questions regarding the amendments and/or regulations regarding STRs, please contact:

Jill MacLellan at maclelj@halifax.ca; or
Jamy-Ellen Klenavic at klenavj@halifax.ca; or
Brandon Umpherville at umpheb@halifax.ca

Please be advised that on February 21, 2023, Regional Council approved amendments to the Regional Plan, Secondary Municipal Planning Strategies and all Land Use By-laws to establish consistent region-wide policies and regulations for short-term rentals. The changes to municipal planning documents are still subject to ministerial review and will not take effect until September 1, 2023. Please review the staff report for more information. Should you have any questions regarding short-term rentals on your property or in your neighbourhood, please call 311.


Short-Term Rentals (STRs) are temporary overnight accommodations rented out for a few nights or weeks at a time. In recent years, the prevalence and popularity of STRs has grown through online platforms like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. While STRs provide a unique form of tourist accommodation and can have benefits for the local economy, their recent popularity raises concerns about their impact on residential neighborhoods and the availability of properties for long-term rental.

On September 30, 2020 Regional Council directed staff to:

  1. Amend the Regional Plan and all applicable secondary municipality planning strategies and land use By-laws to establish consistent regional-wide policies, definitions, and regulations for STRs in residential areas; and
  2. Develop STR registration requirements

This direction was in response to the September 2020 staff report, which provided a jurisdictional review of STR legislation throughout Canada and the USA, along with the results of the 2019 survey. The September 2020 staff report recommended that, in developing STR regulations, staff should consider the following:

  1. Require all STRs to register with the Municipality. This would include STRs that are located within the host’s primary residence and STRs located in the hosts secondary residence (cottage) or income property(ies);
  2. Within residential zones/neighbourhoods, only permit STRs in the host’s primary residences;
  3. Within neighbourhoods where hotels or other types of tourist accommodations are already permitted, allow commercial STRs; and
  4. Consider modified provisions for STRs in rural areas.

Project Status

On January 24, 2023, Council approved first reading for the proposed amendment to municipal planning documents to establish consistent region-wide policies and regulations for short-term rentals. Council further directed staff to

1) prepare a staff report that explores approaches to tourist accommodations in rural parts of the Municipality that are outside of the urban service area boundary; and

2) provide a supplementary report so that Council may consider short-term rentals in secondary units on the same lot as a resident’s primary dwelling, and identify proactive enforcement to short-term rentals, including staff requirements and funding options required to carry out the approach.

On February 21, 2023, Regional Council approved amendments to the Regional Plan, Secondary Municipal Planning Strategies and all Land Use By-laws to establish consistent region-wide policies and regulations for short-term rentals. The changes to municipal planning documents are still subject to ministerial review and will not take effect until September 1, 2023. Please review the staff report for more information.

Staff will also be returning to Council in the upcoming months to present a staff report regarding the implications of allowing STRs in secondary dwellings located on the host’s property and to provide additional information on how municipal STR rules will be enforced. Additionally, over the next several months staff will explore approaches to tourist accommodations in rural parts of the municipality that are outside of the urban service area boundary.


Questions? Want more information?

Should you have any questions regarding the amendments and/or regulations regarding STRs, please contact:

Jill MacLellan at maclelj@halifax.ca; or
Jamy-Ellen Klenavic at klenavj@halifax.ca; or
Brandon Umpherville at umpheb@halifax.ca