Issues and Complaints

An interactive map of all licenced short-term rentals in the city is available online.

If you are aware of a property that is likely being illegally operated as a short-term rental within the city of Nelson or to report a specific disturbance or other bylaw violation, you may make a formal complaint to Bylaw Enforcement for further investigation. If you are able to include the property’s address and a link to an online advertisement for the property that you are reporting (e.g. on Airbnb, VRBO, or Kijiji), this will help to accelerate Enforcement’s investigation.

Please note that the City does not accept anonymous complaints, however your information will be kept strictly confidential. If you prefer, you are welcome to make your complaint in person at the Bylaw Enforcement Department.

As of May 31st, 2016 Airbnb is accepting neighbour complaints directly on the following website: Please note: this is provided for informational purposes only. This does not equal or replace an official municipal bylaw complaint. The City of Nelson does not endorse or take responsibility for the outcome of using this third-party complaint platform.

Nelson Police Department, Bylaw Enforcement will investigate properties that are rented for short-term accommodation (31 days or less) in contravention of Zoning Bylaw No. 3199, 2013. Unauthorized use or occupation of land, buildings, or structures can result in fines of $500 per day to the property owners.


37% of Nelsonites are renters and despite an increase in overall dwelling counts between the years 2006 and 2011, the ratio of renters to owners remained constant. The rental market is tight, with low vacancy rates and more demand than supply. Nelson’s 2015 rental vacancy rate was 1.6%; in October 2014, Nelson’s vacancy rate was the lowest in the province at 0.06%. A healthy vacancy rate is considered to be 3%. Rental rates are also increasing.

The City of Nelson has received some reports of long-term tenants being evicted and the property becoming listed online as a short-term rental. In many cases, this scenario may be an illegal eviction. The Residential Tenancy Act stipulates that a landlord may end a tenancy with two months’ notice (even if the rental is on a month-to-month basis) if

  • the landlord plans in good faith to use the property, or
  • the landlord plans to do major construction that requires the unit to be empty.

Apart from the home being sold to a third-party, the only remaining track for eviction is the “good faith” requirement to use a property, meaning that the landlord will:

  • move into the unit, or have a close family member live in it, or
  • sell the property and the new owner, or a close family member of the new owner, plans to live in the rental unit.

If the rental unit is not used for the reasons given in the notice within a “reasonable period of time” (according to the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, this means at least six months following the eviction), the tenant may apply for dispute resolution and request compensation equal to two months’ rent. More information is available online from the Province of British Columbia. The City of Nelson does not provide legal advice for individual cases. If you think you have been wrongfully evicted, you may wish to contact the Residential Tenancy Branch at 1-800-665-8779. You can also contact the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre at 1-800-665-1185.