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Denver Short-term Rental License FAQ

Property owners and long-term renters are allowed to apply for an STR license for their primary residence. Renters must certify and provide verification that they have the permission of their landlord to conduct short-term rentals. This short-term rental landlord authorization document must be filled out completely by the appropriate party and uploaded to the online application when submitting.

Applications for STR licenses are submitted at ww.denvergov.org/ShortTermRentals. Applicants will be required to certify and provide verification 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.
  • Warranty Deed if the property is owned by the applicant. A copy from the Denver Property Tax Assessors Office is acceptable. 
  • The property must be your primary residence.
  • If the property is owned by a LLC, Corporation, or other legal entity, a letter of permission for the property to be used as a short-term rental.
  • If the property is leased, a copy of the lease with the landlords 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 the address of the applicaiton for the Short-term Rental and one of the following: a Colorado motor vehicle registration of the applicant at the address applied for; a voter registration of the applicant at the address applied for; tax documents for the applicant showing the address applied for; utility bill in the name of the applicant at the address applied for.
  • You must possess all applicable Business Taxes licenses, including the Lodger’s Tax.
  • Check with your insurance carrier to ensure that your STR is covered.

If the property is not your primary residence, it is not eligible to be licensed as a short-term rental. You may still rent such a property to guests on a short-term basis, but 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 www.denvergov.org/BuildingCode 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 www.denvergov.org/commercialzoning for more information on the permitting requirements for a change in zoning use, or to determine your property’s zone district.

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.

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.

Excise & Licenses will request documentation of primary residency verification upon application and renewal of a license. Excise and Licenses inspectors also have the authority to request documentation of primary residency from STR licensees at any time. The Department relies on various forms that demonstrate the STR operator’s unit is their primary residence. These documents can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Colorado Driver’s license showing the applicant's name and the address of the application for the Short-term Rental.
  • Voter’s registration of the applicant at the address applied for.
  • Colorado State ID card showing the applicant's name and the address of the application for the Short-term Rental.
  • Tax documents for the applicant showing the address applied for.
  • Utility bills in the name of the applicant at the address applied for.
  • Motor vehicle registration of the applicant at the address applied for.
  • 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. It is unlawful to post an advertisement for a short-term rental without displaying your Business File Number (BFN) on ALL online listings. Please place your entire BFN on all advertisements.

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, report issues related to STRs and send comments or questions to city staff.