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 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.
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.
STR operators must certify they meet the following requirements in order to obtain an STR license from Denver Excise & Licenses:
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Visit www.DenverGov.org/STR where you can review licensing requirements, apply for a license, report issues related to STRs, and send comments or questions to city staff.
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.
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.