Short-Term Rental (STR) Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for a Short-Term Rental (STR) license and when?

Property owners and long-term renters are allowed to apply for an STR license at their primary residence, meaning the place in which a person's habitation is fixed for the term of the license and is the person's usual place of return. Renters must certify and provide verification(PDF, 34KB) that they have the permission of their landlord to conduct short-term rentals. This document must be filled out completely by the appropriate party and uploaded to the online application when submitting.


How does a person apply for an STR license?

Applications for STR licenses are submitted online. Visit the STR License Page to start the process. Applicants will be required to certify and provide verification that they meet the requirements for STRs.


What is required to obtain an STR license?

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

  • If the property is leased, a possession of property certificate(PDF, 905KB) showing the landlord's approval to use the property as a short-term rental.
  • A Colorado Driver's License or Colorado State ID showing the applicant's name and address and two of the following: proof of valid motor vehicle registration, proof of voter registration, Federal or state tax returns or other financial documentation, or a utility bill showing the applicant's address.


What if I want to operate a short-term rental but the property is not my primary residence?

If the property is not your primary residence, it is not eligible to be licensed as a short-term rental. To rent such a property to guests on a short-term basis, you will need to obtain a Lodging Facility license. Please see the licensing page for a Lodging Facility for more information and to check eligibility requirements. Additionally, please note, a change of building occupancy classification may be required and will likely have construction impacts, including but not limited to requirements for a fire sprinkler system, a fire alarm/detection system, exit signage, and accessibility upgrades. Please see for change of occupancy guidelines.  

A change in zoning use from residential to lodging may also be required. A zoning permit is required to change or establish a new zoning use. A change in use to lodging (whether it’s one unit in a building changing use, or an entire building changing use) is allowed under the Denver zoning code as long as the property is in a zone district that allows “lodging accommodations” as a zoning use. Please see for more information on the permitting requirements for a change in zoning use, or to determine your property’s zone district.


Where are Short-Term Rentals allowed?

Short-Term Rentals (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.


What is the fee for obtaining an STR license? Does a license need to be renewed?

An application fee of $50 and an annual license fee of $100 will be assessed for individual STR license applications. STR licenses expire one year from the date of issuance and must be renewed on-time to avoid fines. STR licenses can be renewed up to 60 days prior to expiration. 

An application fee will be assessed for Lodgers Tax Account, and the amount is dependent upon when the short-term rental began operation and time when the tax account is started. Tax Accounts must be renewed every odd-year. 


How does the city verify that a unit is someone's primary residence?

Excise & Licenses requires documentation of primary residency, meaning the place in which a person's habitation is fixed for the term of the license and is the person's usual place of return, upon application and renewal of a Short-Term Rental (STR) license. The director also has the authority to request additional documentation deemed sufficient by the director which is pertinent to establishing primary residency at any time. The Department relies on various documents that demonstrate the STR operator’s unit is their primary residence. These documents can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Colorado Photo ID
  • Proof of valid motor vehicle registration showing the applicant's address
  • Proof of voter registration
  • Federal or state tax returns or other financial documentation showing the applicant's address
  • A utility bill showing the applicant's address


Do STR licensees need to pay taxes?

Yes. STR licensees will be required to pay Lodger’s Tax (10.75%), Occupational Privilege Tax ($48/year), and any other applicable taxes or fees associated with their STR. The Tax License Application is available on the city’s Business Taxes webpage.


Do STR units require in-person inspections?

No. However, licensees must certify under penalty of perjury that their STR has a functioning fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, and liability insurance to cover bodily and property damage. Inspection may be required if the Department has reason for concern that the licensed premises of the STR may not be compliant with Fire, Building, or Zoning requirements.


Do I need a license if I'm not currently renting?

A short-term rental license is required if you are actively advertising a short-term rental, even if there are no available dates on the calendar. Rentals advertised for 30 consecutive days or more do not require a license, but the calendar must require a 30 night minimum stay.


Why is a license number required to be placed in advertisements?

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. It is unlawful to post an advertisement for a short-term rental without displaying your Business File Number (BFN) on ALL online listings.

NOTE: If you use AirBnB, the BFN number should be listed in the "Registration/License Number" field so the number is not blocked by the website.


How are STRs regulated? What are the fines for violations?

The city tracks and monitors complaints about licensed and unlicensed STR units. Excise & Licenses responds to complaints, in addition to conducting proactive enforcement measures through department inspectors. The Director of Excise & Licenses has summary authority to levy penalties, fines, suspension, or show-cause hearings that could lead to revocation of an STR license at any time for violating any provision of the STR rules and regulations, or for violating any local or state law, or for if the property is found to be adversely affecting the public health, safety, or welfare of the immediate neighborhood. Fines for violating STR rules and regulations can be up to $999 per incident.


Does a host have to be present during STR stay?

No. Property owners or long-term renters may conduct STRs while they are on vacation and/or the property is otherwise unoccupied. However, hosts are required to leave a brochure for guests that includes appropriate contact information and instructions on city services. The name and contact information of a General Manager / Local Responsible Party must also be provided as part of the license application. This person must be available to address issues with the STR when the license is out-of-town.


How many guests are allowed to stay in an STR?

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.


Can accessory dwelling units (ADUs) be used for STRs?

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.


Can duplexes be used for STRs?

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.


Why does the city license STRs?

  • 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 and the availability of housing for residents.


How can someone learn more about STRs in Denver?

Visit where you can review licensing requirements, apply for a license, report issues related to STRs, and send comments or questions to city staff.


How do I reset my password for my account?

  1. To reset the password, you must click on "I've forgotten my password". 
  2. You will then enter your email address in the appropriate field and then hit the "Tab" key on your computer keyboard.
  3. The security question will then appear. (The security question will not appear until you have "tabbed" out of the email section above.)
  4. Answer the security question. 
  5. Click on "Send New Password". 
  6. The new password will be emailed to you. Follow the instructions to set your new password.


How can an STR license be revoked, sanctioned or denied?

An STR license can be revoked or sanctioned, and an application for a new or renewed license can be denied if a short-term rental dwelling unit is found to be adversely affecting the public health, safety, or welfare of the immediate neighborhood in which the property is located. Licenses may also be denied or revoked if a short-term rental property is found not to be the applicant's or licensee's primary residence. 


Can I rent out multiple bedrooms in my home?

Yes, an STR can include a single bedroom, entire home, or multiple bedrooms within a home. However, STR hosts may not rent simultaneously to more than one party under separate contracts. If multiple rooms are available, they must be rented together by the same party or be rented one at a time with no overlap between rentals.