Banff Residency Requirements
Can I live in Banff? This is a question we get asked all the time and the answer is yes, no and maybe…
The Town of Banff is located in Banff National Park and as such regulated by the National Park Regulations; properties are leasehold from the federal crown as opposed to fee simple ownership. The occupancy is regulated through these tools and are known as the “Need to Reside” requirements. This is by no means a legal opinion, but takes from the experience we have selling real estate in Banff. Anyone can own a property in Banff, however the use of the property is restricted to those meeting the Need to Reside.
What are the requirements? According to the National Parks Lease and License of Occupation Regulations an eligible resident is defined as: (a) an individual whose primary employment is in the park,(b) an individual who operates a business in the park and whose presence at the place of business is necessary for the day-to-day operation of the business,(c) a retired individual who resides in the park and who, for five consecutive years immediately prior to retirement, (i) was employed primarily in that park, or (ii) operated a business in that park and whose presence at the place of business was necessary for the day-to-day operation of the business, (d) a retired individual who resided in the park at the time of the individual’s retirement and who resided in that park on July 30, 1981, (e) an individual who is a student in full-time attendance at an educational institution that is located within the park and registered under the Income Tax Act or applicable provincial legislation relating to education, (f) an individual who is a lessee of public lands in the park and who (i) was the lessee of those public lands prior to May 19, 1911, or (ii) is a descendant, by blood or adoption, of an individual who was the lessee of those public lands prior to May 19, 1911, or (g) the spouse or common-law partner or a dependant of an individual referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (f).
So, the short version is, you need to be employed in the Park or operate a business in the Park. If you are considering a move to Banff National Park, depending on what type of business you have, there may be the opportunity to rent an office space in Banff and move your business to Banff; home based businesses do not count. You will want to speak with a local lawyer practicing real estate law in the area who can advise on this. There are also businesses for sale in Banff that could allow you to qualify. Because of the Need to Reside, Banff does not have short term rentals in residential properties with the exception of Inns or licensed Bed and Breakfasts. If you were looking to buy are condo and turn it into an AirBnB or VRBO, that would not be allowed.
The purposed of the Need to Reside rules are “To ensure that a broad supply of housing types are available for those who work and raise families in the community, all people living in national park communities must meet eligible residency requirements. This ensures that housing remains available for those whose primary objective is to live and work in the community.” A Canadian who wants to live in Banff can make it work if they are willing to commit to the community. A non-resident would have a difficult time proving their need to reside under the regulations. We find that most of our clients that do not meet the need to reside requirements choose to look at homes in Canmore and the surrounding hamlets. These mountain towns border Banff National Park and Kananaskis Country Provincial Parks but are not in the Parks and are fee simple properties without ownership restrictions. If you want to know more about homes in Banff or Canmore visit us at canmorebanffrealestate.com