by Denise Brown
on Monday, December 18th, 2017 at 3:56pm.
A chalet is the name we use for a single-family home in Whistler. It’s perfect for the mountains, isn’t it?
A duplex is one building with two separate dwellings, each with its own separate entrance. Usually, the dwellings are side-by-side and are connected by a shared wall. When we refer to a duplex, we typically mean one of the two units.
Triplexes and fourplexes are other terms you might here, referring to three dwellings in one building and four dwellings in one building, respectively, each with its own entrance.
A townhouse is a multifamily dwelling with its own separate entrance to the outdoors (i.e., not accessed via interior corridor). The majority of townhouses are stratified with a monthly strata fee; the fee pays for items like landscaping, snow removal, and maintenance of common elements (e.g., windows, roofing, etc.)
A condo refers to a unit in a multifamily building with a lobby area, common corridors, and an entrance typically off an internal corridor. Amenities will vary among different condominium buildings (e.g., pool, gym, etc.) As with townhouses, condominiums are stratified properties with monthly strata fees to cover common area maintenance expenses.
Vacant land is just as it sounds: a piece of property with no improvements on it, ready for you to build your dream home. Vacant land can be anything from a perfectly cleared, flat parcel of land to an overgrown plot of land covered with trees and large rocks, requiring extensive work before it is construction ready. This is a good option for those who want to build their dream property from scratch, but there aren’t too many vacant lots left in Whistler.
Commercial properties include retail, office, and industrial properties. Each of these property types is relatively complex with its own set of standards and regulations; if you are interesting in purchasing or leasing commercial space, I can refer you to a local expert.
Zoning, Use Restrictions, and Other Whistler Oddities
Residential Use Zoning
Most single-family residences in Whistler – and some condominiums and townhomes, particularly outside of the Village, the Benchlands, and Creekside – are zoned for residential use.
Permitted: Use as a primary residence, recreational use, personal use, long-term (more than 30 days) or seasonal rentals.
Not Permitted: Use for any commercial activities, including nightly rentals or short-term rentals.
Tourist Accommodation Zoning
Typically seen in more central areas of Whistler (e.g., the Village, the Benchlands, Creekside, and some others), Tourist Accommodation zoning permits short-term (nightly) rentals, sometimes among other uses. Covenants on title (Phase I or Phase II, discussed below) determine the detailed conditions of use of the property (e.g., rental management requirements, personal use of property).
Permitted: Nightly and short-term rentals, additional uses as per the property’s designated covenant
Not Permitted: As per the property’s designated covenant
Phase I Covenant
A Phase I covenant, which is registered to a property’s title, permits unlimited personal use for the owner. When it is not being used, it should be made available for rental (nightly, short-term, or long-term), and rental can typically be managed through a property management company or by the owners themselves. Click here to read more about the Phase I Covenant.
Permitted: Personal use, nightly rentals, short-term rentals, long-term rentals
NotPermitted: Technically, when the property is not being used by the owner, it should be made available for rental
Phase II Covenant
A Phase II covenant, which is registered to a property’s title, restricts the owner’s personal use of the property to up to 28 days in the summer and 28 days in the winter, for a total of 56 days a year. The rest of the time, the property is made available for short-term rental, typically through hotel management. Phase II properties tend to be in condo-hotel properties (Pan Pacific, Westin, Blackcomb Lodge, the Coast Hotel, etc.). Click here to read more about the Phase II Covenant.
Permitted: Nightly and short-term rentals, typically booked through hotel management, and restricted personal use
Not permitted: Long-term rentals, unlimited personal use
Properties designated as resident restricted must be purchased by buyers who live and work in Whistler, as per the restrictions imposed by the Whistler Housing Authority. This is to promote housing affordability for Whistler locals.
Certain properties (e.g., Eva Lake Village) may be purchased by anyone but must be occupied by Whistler residents. Although a non-resident may own the unit, it must be purchased as an investment, which must be rented out (long-term or monthly) to locals.
Shared ownership follows the “timeshare” model, where several parties share ownership of a single unit. Ownership arrangements vary and can include ½ ownership, ¼ ownership, 1/10 ownership, single week timeshares, etc. Each owner is designated specific periods of time during which he or she may use the property, which typically rotates year to year.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for additional information on property types, zoning, or anything else!
E&OE. Please seek independent legal advice on a properties specific zoning before any decisions are made.