The Most and Least Difficult Cities to Apply For a Short-Term Rental License

short-term-rental-permit

In cities across the United States, new short-term rental laws are popping up that determine the future of the “sharing economy.” From San Francisco to Los Angeles, cities adopt a licensing process to regulate hosts’ participation in short-term rentals. But the application criteria and process vary from city to city.

In this article, local experts from 2nd Address have prepared a detailed checklist when applying for a short-term rental license and rate the difficulty level of obtaining one in each city.

Las Vagas

Difficulty level: ★★★★★

Host eligibility

  • Must be the owner of the property.

Property eligibility

  • Have no more than three bedrooms. The number of bedrooms is that shown on the Clark
    County Assessor’s records.
  • Be at least 660 feet from any other short-term residential rental.
  • Be in a location that allows short-term residential rentals. They are prohibited in the following master-planned areas such as Summerlin and Symphony Park.
  • No accessory structures such as casitas, tents, trailers or other mobile units.
  • Must provide proof of liability insurance coverage with a $500,000 minimum amount.

Application process

  1. Get approval from the city’s Department of Planning, by calling the department first.
  2. Required inspection. The inspector will verify the number of bedrooms, check safety requirements, and check for building permits for all changes and additions that have been made to the original structure.
  3. obtain a business license
  4. Submit an application for a short-term rental license, along with required documents such as the floor plan of the property and the corporation/LLC/Trust documentation (if applicable)

Compliance

  • Must renew license every 6 months.
  • Must display a placard whenever rented listing the maximum occupancy and a 24-hour contact number for complaints.

Read more about STR license application in Las Vagas

San Francisco

Difficulty level: ★★★★☆

Host eligibility

  • Must be the permanent resident of the unit, and lives in the same unit at least 275 nights (about nine months) per year.
  • A new resident must have lived in your dwelling for at least 60 days before applying.

Property eligibility

  • Must be compliant with all City codes.
  • Cannot be located in The Presidio, Fort Mason, or Treasure Island.
  • Cannot be a Single-Room-Occupancy (SRO) or dormitory.
  • Cannot be a Below-Market-Rate (BMR) or Public Housing unit.
  • Must be permitted and designed for residential use. Commercial and industrial spaces are not permitted.
  • Not subject to an Ellis Act eviction after November, 2014.
  • No sleeping quarters in outdoor areas, including treehouses and vehicles.
  • Have property liability insurance in the amount of no less than $500,000, provided by you or the hosting platform.

Application process

  1. Get a business license.
  2. Register with TTX (Treasurer & Tax Collector).
  3. Apply with OSTR (Office of Short-Term Rentals) with a $250 application fee.
  4. Neighborhood notification. This only applies to properties in RH-1(D) zoning districts. A courtesy notice will be sent to all neighbors who live within 300 feet of your unit. They will have 45 days to submit evidence that you, or your unit, is not eligible to host short-term rentals.

Compliance

  1. Report your short-term rental stays quarterly.
  2. Renew your business certificate annually.
  3. Renew your certificate with the Office of Short-Term Rentals every 2 years.

Read more about STR license application in San Francisco.


Boston

Difficulty level: ★★★★☆

Host eligibility

  • Must be the primary resident, who lives in the property for at least nine months per year.

Property eligibility

  • Cannot be below market rate or income-restricted; or subject to affordability covenants; or subject to rental assistance under local, state, or federal law.
  • Must be within a property classified as residential use. This excludes hotels, elderly housing, group residence, homeless shelter, and transitional housing.

Application process

  1. Submit short-term rental registration online.
  2. Provide proof of primary residence.
  3. Get a business certificate through the City Clerk’s office. 

Compliance

  • Renew your short-term rental license every year.
  • Notify neighbors (within 300 feet) within 30 days of being issued a short-term rental license.
  • Cannot be the subject of three or more violations—noise, improper disposal of trash, etc—within a six-month period.

Read more about STR license application in Boston.


Los Angeles

Difficulty level: ★★★★☆

Host eligibility

  • Must be the primary resident, who lives in the property for more than 6 months a year.
  • Must obtain written landlord approval, if you are a renter.

Property eligibility

  • Not subject to affordable housing covenants, Rent Stabilization and/or is not income-restricted under City, State or Federal law.
  • Cannot be vehicle parked on the property, storage shed, trailer, temporary structure or other structure not built for residential use.
  • No pending citation.
  • Must have working fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and in compliance with fire, life and safety codes

Application process

  1. Register for Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).
  2. Submit the home-sharing registration form online with an $89 application fee.

Compliance

  • Renew every year.
  • Submit records of short-term rental bookings at the time of renewal.

Read more about STR license application in Los Angeles.


Denver

Difficulty level: ★★★☆☆

Host eligibility

  • Must be a legal resident of the United States.
  • Must be the primary resident of the property, as documented by at least two of the following: motor vehicle registration, driver’s license, Colorado state identification card, voter registration, tax documents, or a utility bill.

Property eligibility

  • Must have insurance for at least $1,000,000, provided by you or your hosting platform.
  • Has a fire extinguisher, a carbon monoxide detector, and a smoke alarm.

Application process

  • If you are a renter, get written permission from your landlord to use the property as a short-term rental.
  • If you have an HOA, notify your HOA of your intent to use the property as a short-term rental.
  • Put together a brochure for your guests that contains the information required by the STR ordinance.
  • Register for a lodger’s tax account.
  • Apply for a short-term rental license online with an application fee of $25.

Read more about short-term rental license application in Denver.

Seattle

Difficulty level: ★★☆☆☆

Host eligibility

  • May operate up to two dwelling units they own as short-term rentals, one of which must be their primary residence.

Property eligibility

  • Must meet current building and safety codes.

Application process

  1. Obtaining a City of Seattle business license tax certificate.
  2. Register your property with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. Properties are selected for inspection at least once during the first ten years after they are registered.
  3. Apply for an STR regulatory license with an application fee of $75.

Compliance

  • Renew your short-term rental license every year.

Read more about STR license application in Seattle.


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