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Denver Short-term Rental License FAQ

As of July 1, 2016, property owners and long-term renters are allowed to apply for an STR license for their primary residence. Renters must certify that they have the permission of their landlord to conduct short-term rentals. 

As of July 1, 2016, applications for STR licenses will be submitted at www.denvergov.org/ShortTermRentals. Applicants will be required to certify that they meet the requirements for STRs.

STR operators must certify they meet the following requirements in order to obtain an STR license from Denver Excise & Licenses:

  • You must be a legal resident of the United States.
  • The property must be your primary residence.
  • If you do not own the property, you must obtain written documentation from the landlord or property owner allowing you to operate an STR.
  • You must possess all applicable Business Taxes licenses, including the Lodger’s Tax.
  • If your property is part of a homeowners association, please verify that STRs are allowed in your HOA.
  • Check with your insurance carrier to ensure that your STR is covered.

An application fee of $25 will be assessed for individual STR license applications. STR licenses are offered annually, and need to be renewed every 12 months.

An application fee of $50 will be assessed for Lodgers Tax IDs which need to be renewed every 2 years.

STR operators must be licensed by Dec. 31, 2016.

STRs are allowed as an accessory use wherever residential uses are allowed. That includes residential as well as mixed-use commercial districts. Private homeowners associations (HOAs) have authority to prohibit STRs through their private covenants and rules

Excise & Licenses inspectors have authority to request documentation of primary residency verification from STR licensees at any time. Inspectors rely on various forms that demonstrate the STR operator’s unit is their primary residence. These documents can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Driver’s license
  • Voter’s registration
  • State ID card
  • Tax documents
  • Utility bills
  • Any other document proving the STR unit is a primary residence 

Yes. STR licensees will be required to pay 10.75% Lodger’s Tax, Occupational Privilege Tax, and any other applicable taxes or fees associated with their STR. The Tax License Application is available on the city’s Business Taxes webpage

No. However, licensees must certify under penalty of perjury their STR has a fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, and liability insurance to cover bodily and property damage.

License numbers will be required in advertisements so Excise & Licenses can track and monitor various STR platforms for both licensed and unlicensed STRs being advertised. No personal licensee information will be included in the license number. 

The city tracks and monitors complaints about licensed and unlicensed STR units. Excise & Licenses responds to complaint-based STR inquiries, in addition to conducting proactive enforcement measures through department inspectors. The Director of Excise & Licenses has summary authority to levy penalties, fines, suspensions, or show-cause hearings that could lead to STR license revocation at any time for violating any provision of the STR regulations, or for violating any local or state law. Fines for violating any STR rules and regulations can be up to $999 per incident.

No. Property owners or long-term renters may conduct STRs while they are on vacation and/or the property is vacant. However, hosts are required to leave a welcome packet for guests that includes appropriate contact information and instructions on city services.

STR hosts have the ability to set their own guest maximums. However, per the Denver Zoning Code (DZC), STRs are accessory to primary residential use, meaning the overall character of the property should remain residential. The DZC also explicitly states that STRs do not include rental of a dwelling unit for commercial events, such as parties or weddings. Additionally, only one rental contract may be allowed at a time in any STR. Multiple rental contracts to separate parties in an STR are prohibited.

ADUs may be used as STRs by a property owner or long-term renter who is living in the primary structure on the property. However, only one STR license will be allowed per property, so a long-term renter of an ADU may only apply for an STR license if the owner/renter of the primary structure does not also have one.

Each unit in a duplex is a separate primary dwelling unit, so the primary resident of each unit may obtain a license to conduct an STR. However, a person who resides in one duplex unit may not obtain a license to conduct an STR in the adjacent unit, because that unit is not their primary residence.

  • Recognize the fact that STRs are widely operating today as a popular home-sharing practice for Denver residents.
  • Provide a regulatory environment that allows the popular practice to continue while focusing responsibility and accountability among operators and limiting the impact on neighborhoods.

Visit www.DenverGov.org/ShortTermRentals where you can review licensing requirements, apply for a license as of July 1, 2016, report issues related to STRs and send comments or questions to city staff.