Background and FAQs
Short term rentals (STRs) refer to rentals offered for less than 30 consecutive days. The rental can be a whole house, a private room or space in a house, or shared accommodations. There are numerous on-line platforms catering to STRs, the most popular being Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb. Through a 2-year public process, staff engaged with residents and Council to seek means to protect neighborhood livability, maintain the availability of residential housing, protect STR renters, and ensure proper tax collection while accommodating a popular and desired use in the community.
On March 31, 2017 regulations became effective.
- What is a short term rental (STR)?
STRs are dwelling units that are rented for less than 30 days. Two types of STRs are defined:
- Non-primary short term rental is a dwelling unit that is not a primary residence and that is leased in its entirety to one party at a time for periods of less than 30 consecutive days.
- Primary short term primary rental is a dwelling unit that that is the owners primary home and a portion of the home is leased to one party at a time for periods of less than 30 consecutive days. Owners must reside in their primary STR at least 9 months out of the year.
- Where are STRs allowed?
Primary STRs are permitted in zones that currently allow all hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast of any size (green areas on map). Non-primary STRs are permitted in zones that currently allow lodging establishments (yellow areas on map).
See Map: Short-term rental zoning map
- What licenses are needed to operate a STR?
STR operators not only need to be in a zone that allows this use they must also get a sales tax license and a lodging tax license and collect both of these taxes. Airbnb may collect state tax but they do not collect City tax. Both of these licenses are free.
STRs also require a STR license. This license is $150 with a $100 annual renewal.
- What happens to STRs that were operating but are now in non-allowable zones?
STRs that were utilized as STRs and collected sales and lodging tax prior to the effective date of the licensing ordinance on March 31, 2017, will be allowed to apply for a license until June 30, 2017. Amortizing this use is prohibited by state statute. If a licensed STR property is sold, the new owners will have the ability to apply for a new license in their name.
- What is needed to apply for a STR License?
- Licenses are $150 and are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Annual renewal is $100.
- License must be posted in the STR.
- License number must be included in all advertising.
- Name, phone number, and email of local contact must be provided.
- Proof of primary residence (if applying for Primary STR license.)
- A description of the area to be rented (ex. Back bedroom and bath; downstairs portion of house, etc.)
- Owner must complete and self-certify that dwelling meets required safety standards.
- Properties may be subject to additional inspection upon complaint.
- Sales and lodging tax collection and remittance.
- What are the parking requirements for a STR License?
Number of Bedrooms Rented Number of Off-Street Parking Spaces 1—2 1 3—4 2 5—6 3
- Can a carriage house, one-side of a duplex, or an adjacent property that I own be considered a primary STR?
A carriage house or one side of a duplex that is not a primary residence can be a short term primary rental if it is located on a lot containing a primary residence. An adjacent property does not qualify to be a primary STR.
- How will the City enforce and what are the penalties for operating without a license?
The City is contracting with a specialized company that scrubs over 25 online sites and provides listings and address information. The City will use this information to notify STR operators who are unlicensed or who are in a zone that does not allow this use.
The City will seek voluntary compliance prior to issing any fines.
The licensing provisions refer to Code Section 1-15 regarding general penalties. Violations can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2830 and 180 days jail with each day upon which a violation continues considered a separate offense.
- Do STR regulations result in a regulatory taking of property?
The STR regulations are designed to reasonably address legitimate policy concerns and impacts on the public from the use of property for STRs. Therefore, the STR regulations will not result in a regulatory taking of property.
- Is a STR license transferrable?
No. A new property owner must apply for a new STR license in their name. If the license is for a STR that was grandfathered in, the new owner must apply within 30 days of the sale to continue the use.