Short-Term Rentals

The Town of Drumheller passed third reading of the Business License Bylaw 06.23 on January 22, 2024. Amongst other changes, the new Business License Bylaw contains provisions for the regulation of short-term rentals (STRs). 

As of February 1, 2024, all short-term rental hosts will require a business license. By regulating short-term rentals, Council hopes to achieve the following benefits in our community: 

Enhance Safety

Requiring all hosts to meet safety measures relating to fire and emergency situations in order to protect guests, hosts and the community at large.


Promote Fair Competition

Ensuring all hosts providing short term accommodation provide the same standard of safety and accountability. Fair competition benefits both consumers and hosts by providing quality assurance.

Protect Neighbourhoods

Locating short-term rentals within our community to better enforce the rules within the Community Standards Bylaw.                  


More information on the regulation of short-term rentals and the requirements for a Short-Term Rental Business License Application can be found in our Good Host Guide.

The Good Host Guide was created to give short-term rental hosts an overview of the rules and regulations for owning and operating a short-term rental.

Please ensure you have all supporting documents listed in the Good Host Guide Application Checklist before beginning the application process. 

To submit your application online, please click here

Hard copies of the application can be accessed and printed off by clicking here

Key Changes

Below are some key changes to short-term rentals in the Drumheller Valley.

Principal, Non-Principal and Non-Resident

The Town of Drumheller distinguishes between principal, non-principal and non-resident short-term rentals. A principal residence is where you live the majority of the year and receive your mail. If you live in Town but do not live in the home you are renting, you will be classified as a non-principal residence. If you live outside of the jurisdiction and rent out a short-term rental in Town, you will be classified as a non-resident

Important Dates

Date Description
February 1, 2024 Applications for the short-term rentals business license open to principal residence licensees. 
March 1, 2024 Applications for the short-term rentals business license opens to non-principal residence and non-resident licensees.
April 1, 2024 Letters will be mailed out to non-compliant short-term rental owners informing them of the requirement to be licensed.
July 1, 2024 Enforcement will begin for non-compliant short-term rentals which have not been licensed.

License Fees

Type of Short-Term Rental Fee Description
Principal residence $245 Someone is operating a short-term rental in the same home or on the same property where they live for the majority of the calendar year.
Non-principal residence $810 Someone lives in the Town of Drumheller but does not live in the short-term rental or on the property of the short-term rental they are operating for the majority of the calendar year.
Non-resident $1,010 Someone does not live in the Town of Drumheller but is operating a short-term rental within the jurisdiction.


Requirements Description Purpose
Egress Requires two exits from every room. A host cannot rent a room that does not have one or more egress windows (multi-storied apartment/condo buildings have existing fire safety standards and do not need egress windows). Windows must be clear of any obstructions on the interior and exterior of the building. Openings must be 0.35m² with no dimensions less than 380mm. Hosts must provide a Home Escape Plan during their application to prove they meet the minimum requirements. Ensure the safety of guests in the event of a fire or other incident where a guest would have to evacuate.
Maximum number of guests A host cannot allow more than two adults per bedroom, not including minors. Ensuring the safety of guests and neighbours by addressing overcrowding issues.
Overlapping bookings A host cannot allow overlapping bookings of two or more reservations for the dwelling at the same time. This means a host cannot rent out separate rooms to separate guests under separate reservations, but can rent out multiple rooms as part of one guest reservation. Ensure consumer protection and transparency between host and guest while reducing community impact.
Advertising A host must include the business license number in any advertising for the short-term rental, along with a link to the SeeClickFix portal for the Town of Drumheller. Identify unlicensed hosts and inform guests of the requirement for short-term rentals to maintain a Town of Drumheller business license. Provide a way for guests to submit complaints regarding short-term rentals that are not complying with Town bylaws.
Emergency contact A host must post the name, phone number and email address (in a conspicuous location) of an emergency contact person who lives in Drumheller and who can be reached 24 hours a day. An emergency contact template is available here. Ensure guests and enforcement authorities can address issues if they arise. 
Insurance Require hosts to possess and maintain some form of home sharing insurance or short-term rental insurance. Proof of the insurance must be provided during the application process. Ensure hosts are covered for damages done to their property or persons. Most homeowner's insurance policies exclude coverage for any "business use" of your home. Insurance provided by brokers, such as Airbnb and VRBO do not cover damage to hosts or the property done by guests.
Photos During the application process, applicants must submit photos of all sleeping spaces and all facilities that will be used by guests (living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, etc.). Photos will be used to verify that the short-term rental is abiding by some of the major safety regulations.
Safety Requirements in the Good Host Guide set minimum requirements for safety. Protection of hosts, guests and property. Ensures that guests are safe within our community. 



Offence Description



General Penalties

All bylaw sections not specified in this schedule.


3.1, 6.1, 7.1, 8.1, 9.1,10.1,10.4, 11.1, 12.1

Operate or Advertise a Business without a Licence



Provide false information on a Business Licence Application


3.5, 10.4

Failure to advertise Business Licence in conspicuous location 



Carry on business while licence suspended or




Failure to surrender a revoked licence.



7.5, 7.6

Operating outside of a permitted area



Operating outside of the approved times



Failure to relocate upon notice




Failure to furnish information regarding stalls. 




Failure to furnish information regarding sub-contractors 




Allowing Overlapping Bookings



Failure to post required information in a conspicuous location



Operating multiple Short-Term Rentals on a single parcel


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Short-Term Rental (STR)?

A short-term rental (STR) is any dwelling, such as a house, room, or secondary suite, that is rented out for a period of twenty-eight (28) days or less. All individuals who offer a short-term rental for rent must have a valid Short-Term Rental Business Licence from the Town of Drumheller. This includes any short-term rental advertised on sites such as Airbnb, VRBO or similar websites.

I live in my house, can I rent out a bedroom or two as an STR?

Yes, a portion of a house can be rented as a short-term rental if you are a homeowner or have permission from the homeowner. You will still need to submit a Business Licence Application whether you live in the home or not. Please note, there is only one short-term rental permitted per parcel.

I have a house and a garden suite on the same lot. Can I operate multiple STRs on my property?

No, only one STR is permitted per property and only one party can rent out the STR at a time. This means a host cannot rent out separate rooms to separate guests under separate reservations, but can rent out multiple rooms as part of one guest reservation.

If you would like to operate multiple rentals on your property, you will need to apply for a Bed and Breakfast License. Multiple STRs in apartment buildings and condos may be allowed if you receive written approval from your landlord, condominium association, homeowner’s association or property management company, if applicable, and approval from the Development Authority. 

Why is there only one STR permitted per parcel?

To protect the quality of our neighbourhoods. Multiple STRs per parcel are known to create issues with noise, lack of parking and disruptive behaviour.

What is the difference between a principal, non-principal and non-resident STR?

The Town of Drumheller distinguishes between principal, non-principal and non-resident STRs. A principal residence is where you live the majority of the year and receive your mail. If you live in town but do not live in the home you are renting, you will be classified as a non-principal residence, and if you live outside of the jurisdiction and rent out a home in town, you will be classified as a non-resident.

The fees for each type are $245, $810 and $1,010 respectively.

Why is the license application opened up to principal residents before it is open to non-principal and non-resident STR applicants?

Whole home rentals are the primary contributors to a reduction of housing stock and decrease in neighborhood quality. Whole home rentals decrease the availability of long-term rentals for guests and leads to empty neighbourhoods and unmaintained properties.

According to a report by Desjardins, there was a correlation between Airbnb activity and higher long-term rental prices across 19 Canadian cities with short-term rentals. And, a one-percentage-point increase in the share of Airbnbs was associated with a 2.3 per cent increase in rents for long-term rentals.

Why are non-principal and non-resident STRs charged a higher rate?

Whole home rentals are the primary contributors to a reduction of housing stock and decrease in neighborhood quality. The fee is intended to account for the amount of enforcement that is needed for each type of property and the anticipated impact on the community.

For example, a host in Vancouver renting out a full-home STR in Drumheller may result in greater safety and neighborhood quality concerns than if the host lived in Drumheller and rented out a full-home. This is because the person living in Drumheller is better able to address safety concerns and property maintenance issues as they arise. Likewise, there are even fewer concerns if the person lives in the home they are renting out.

Why are the fees for STR Business License Applications higher than other business license applications?

Other businesses pay higher commercial property tax rates in order to support essential services like road maintenance, water, and waste management. In lieu of commercial property tax, the higher business license fee will be used to ensure STR hosts are contributing their fair share to town services. Additionally, some of the business license fee will be used to cover associated enforcement costs required to address neighborhood quality issues caused by STRs.

Why is there a cap on STRs?

The cap on STRs has been implemented in order to manage STR growth and protect the quality of our neighbourhoods. Short-term rentals have increased exponentially over the past three (3) years, increasing by an average of 67% each year. This is three times (3x) higher than the number of new homes being built each year.

Implementing a cap on short-term rentals safeguards housing availability for long-term residents by preventing housing shortages, preserving affordability, and maintaining community stability.

What if I want to apply for an STR, but the cap limit on STRs in the community has been reached?

If the cap limit on STRs has been reached, we encourage you to request placement on our waitlist. If an STR host chooses not to renew their license, we will contact applicants on the waitlist to give them the first opportunity to apply for a license. Principal STRs and non-principal STRs will be given priority when dispersing new STR licences, respectively. 

Why is the Business License Application opened to princial residents before it is opened to non-principal and non-resident STR applications?

A principal residence STR consists of rooms rented out within someone's residence, or the rental of a secondary suite or accessory suite on someone’s property. As principal residence STRs are used as a principal residence for the majority of the year, they do not contribute to the reduction of housing stock or the decrease in neighbourhood quality to the same degree as non-principal and non-resident STRs (see FAQ #6). By encouraging the efficient use of our housing inventory, we are aiming to increase affordability and neighbourhood quality within the Town of Drumheller.

Do I have to renew my STR Business License each year?

Yes, just like any other business license, the STR business license will need to be renewed on an annual basis. Each year, Town staff will send out a notice in January asking current license holders if they would like to renew their business license, with any additional requirements for renewal. The license holder will have until March to confirm their renewal.

If they do not confirm renewal by this date, the license will be offered to potential applicants on the waitlist or members of the general public.

Can I lose my STR Business License?

If an applicant complies with the requirements of the Good Host Guide and the Town of Drumheller bylaws, renews their license on an annual basis and pays the appropriate fees, they will not lose their business license.

Bylaw 06.23 states that the Chief Administrative Officer may refuse, suspend, or revoke, a license if:

  1. The applicant or licensee fails to comply with the requirements of this Bylaw;
  2. The applicant or licensee fails to comply with the provisions of the Community Standards Bylaw, any other Bylaw of the Town, or any applicable Statute of the Province of Alberta or the Government of Canada;
  3. The license has been issued in error; or,
  4. The Chief Administrative Officer has reasonable grounds to believe that operation of the Business poses a danger to the safety, health or welfare of the general public.

What does it mean by conspicuous location?

“Conspicuous location” means any area in the STR that is visible to guests and in a high traffic area. We recommend posting the Home Escape Plan, Business License Number and Emergency Contact Information next to the front entrance and on the back doors of the sleeping areas. However, this location will be unique to your individual home.

What safety measures do I have to abide by?

All the safety requirements are listed in the Good Host Guide. Before completing your application, you are required to read and agree that you understand and will abide by the requirements of the Good Host Guide.

What if I am unable to abide by these safety requirements?

The Town of Drumheller has tried to strike a balance between safety and cost to the host. These recommendations are in line with the requirements of the Alberta Fire Code and best practices for commercial accommodation. If you are unable to meet the minimum requirements of the Good Host Guide you will not be issued an STR business License.

What will happen if I do not acquire an STR Business License?

Fines for noncompliance are listed in Section 17 and Schedule “A” of the Business License Bylaw 06.23

Where can I operate an STR?

An STR can operate in any approved residential home or “Dwelling Unit,” as defined in the Land Use Bylaw. If you live in an approved residential home, you will likely be able to operate an STR in this home. During your application process, administrative staff will confirm if your home is eligible to host an STR. Please note that RVs or campers located on your property cannot be used to host as STR.

Do hotels, campgrounds and BnBs that list their accomodation on Airbnb and VRBO need to acquire an STR Business License?

Hotels, campgrounds and BnBs are not classified as STRs, and therefore, do not need to acquire an STR business license. However, they do require a general business license and are subject to different regulations and requirements. For more information, please see

What kind of insurance do I need to provide?

You will be required to provide some form of home-sharing insurance or short-tern rental insurance. Home-sharing insurance is any form of insurance that is specifically for individuals who rent out their home on a short-term basis. We recommend you speak to your insurance broker regarding this type of insurance.

Why do I need to provide insurance?

Most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude coverage for any “business use” of your home. Although online brokers such as Airbnb and VRBO provide $1 million USD of liability coverage, it does not cover damage to you or your property by the guest. If a guest starts a fire in your kitchen, you could be without coverage from either your homeowner’s insurance or your online broker. Therefore, the Town requires some form of home-sharing or short-term rental insurance in order to protect people and property in the Valley.

Will my property require an inspection prior to being licensed?

This will depend on your application. All applicants will need to read and agree to follow the regulations of the Good Host Guide prior to being issued a license. All applicants are required to consent to a possible inspection of their STR as part of their license application. For the vast majority of applicants, an inspection will not be necessary. However, if administration receives significant complaints from guests or believes that the STR host is not meeting the safety requirements of the Bylaw and Good Host Guide, The Town reserves the right to undertake an inspection of the STR.

I live in an apartment building. Can I rent out my apartment if I am away for the summer?

You must receive written approval from your landlord, condominium association, homeowner’s association or property management company, if applicable.

Will my application fee be refunded if my application is unsuccessful?

No, it is the responsibility of the applicant to determine if they meet the requirements to operate a STR before an application. Please review the Bylaw and the Good Host Guide thoroughly before making an application.

More Information

For compliments or complaints regarding short-term rentals, please submit your concern through the SeeClickFix portal for the Town of Drumheller.

For more information on business licensing, please click here.

For questions about STRs, please contact:

Phone: 403-823-2898
Town of Drumheller
224 Centre Street
Drumheller, AB  T0J 0Y4

I Want To