Short Term Rental Regulations in the City of Seattle

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    short term rental regulations Seattle

    The City of Seattle defines vacation rentals as a housing unit rented out for less than 30 consecutive nights. The following is a complete guideline for Seattle’s short term rental regulations so that anyone can be a responsible host when using platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and other similar services. This rundown should give you a good start in understanding your local laws.

    Seattle’s vacation rental rules and regulations set operating standards and licensing requirements for the City’s short term rental hosts. If you are operating a short term rental (STR) in Seattle, you may need to apply for four types of licenses. The following is an overview of each license:

    Seattle Business License Tax Certificate

    Short term rental operators in Seattle must obtain a Seattle Business License Tax Certificate. They must obtain this business license tax certificate before applying for a short term rental operator license or a bed and breakfast operator license. The Seattle business license is valid until the end of December of each year. All listings by a host will require only one business license. For more information on Seattle’s Business License Tax Certificates, Click Here

    Short Term Regulatory License

    To become a host in Seattle, hosts will also need a short term regulatory license. The short term regulatory license is valid for one year and should be renewed annually on the date it was issued. It costs $75 per unit.

    Whether a host is an operator, a platform, or a bed-and-breakfast operator, they can apply for a license online through Seattle’s official website. After obtaining this license, hosts must add the number and date of expiry to their Airbnb listing.

    With the short term rental regulatory license, a host can operate up to two dwelling units they own as short term rentals. One of them must be their primary residence where they usually live. The second one may be a residence they own, like a holiday home or your second home. Hosts can rent out the entire residential unit or only a part of it, such as a bedroom.

    Rental Regulation and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO)

    The Rental Regulation and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) registration is for rentals, not the primary residence. If hosts rent out their secondary residence as a short term rental, they will need an RRIO number. Along with that, a business license tax certificate and a short term rental regulatory license will also be required.

    The fee for obtaining an RRIO is $70 and requires a host to meet basic home maintenance requirements. Once an RRIO is acquired, the registered property can be inspected by the City.

    For more information on the Rental Regulation and Inspection Ordinance, Click Here

    Bed and Breakfast Operator’s License

    Bed-and-breakfast hosts who have their listings on short term rental platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO must obtain a bed-and-breakfast operator’s license. The Department of Finance and Administrative Services issues this license. It costs $75 and is valid for one year.

    Other Short Term Rental Regulations

    As a responsible host, you must abide by other contracts or vacation rental rules and regulations that bind you. These include leases, community rules, HOA rules, or other guidelines set up by tenant associations. Feel free to reach out to your landlord, housing authority, or community council to find out more. 

    To get more information about other regulations, you can also visit Seattle’s official website or contact us.