It’s important for you to understand your local laws if you want to become an Airbnb host. We provide a platform and marketplace, but we don’t provide legal advice. Even so, we want to share some info to help you understand laws and other rules that relate to short term rentals in Denver, CO. The information in this article isn’t exhaustive, but it should help you start your research on local laws. If you have questions, you can check Denver’s Short-Term Rental Licensing page, contact the Denver Business Licensing Center, Denver Community Planning and Development Department, or another local authority, such as a local lawyer or tax professional.
Building and housing standards
Denver enforces rules and regulations that specify minimum construction, design, maintenance standards, habitability, health, and safety. Certain regulations applicable to residential and non-residential uses may be relevant to your listing. Check the Building and Fire Code for the City and County of Denver or contact Denver Development Services directly to find out more.
You need a license to offer a short-term rental to guests in Denver. There are two types licenses that apply to hosting on Airbnb:
- Short-Term Rental business license
- Lodging Facility business license
Both of these licenses are managed by the City and County of Denver.
Short-Term Rental licenses
In Denver, only your primary residence can be used as a short-term rental. If you plan to rent your primary residence to guests for a period of less than 30 consecutive days, you’ll need a a Short-Term Rental business license.
Denver defines a primary residence as “a residence which is the usual place of return for housing” and a person can only have one primary residence, per Denver ordinances.
First, you’ll need to get a Lodger’s Tax ID from the City of Denver to be eligible for a Short-Term Rental business license. The Lodger’s Tax ID requires an initial fee of $50. You’ll also need to pay $50 every two years to renew your license.
After you’ve gotten your Lodger’s Tax ID, you’ll need to obtain a Short-Term Rental business license. You’ll need to show documentation that proves your listing is your primary residence. Valid documentation includes:
- A valid Colorado driver’s license
- A state-issued ID
- Tax documents
- Utility bills
- Proof of voter registration
If you don’t own your primary residence, you’ll also need to provide a copy of your lease and documented permission from the owner of the property.
The Short-Term Rental business license requires an initial fee of $25. There is also a $25 annual renewal fee you’ll need to pay to keep your license active.
Lodging Facility business licenses
A lodging facility is a hotel, lodging house, rooming house, or other place where transients are accommodated, in which four or more rooms are available to be rented.
To use a residential property as Lodging Facility, a host may be required to undergo major modifications to meet eligibility requirements, including but not limited to a change in zone use or a change of building occupancy classification. Most buildings require construction to change their building classification, such as implementing fire sprinklers and various changes to meet accessibility codes.
The Denver Business Licensing Center has specific instructions on how to obtain a Lodging Facility business license.
You are required to list a valid Denver business (STR or Lodging Facility) license number on any Airbnb listing.
How to include your business license number on your listing:
- Go to Manage Listing > Calendar > Location (under Listing section)
- Enter your license number in the License or registration number field
Note: The format for a valid Denver business license is: YYYY-BFN-XXXXXXX (example: 2016-BFN-0001234).
There are a number of operational requirements Denver requires of short-term rental hosts. Maintain these requirements to make sure your license remains in good standing.
You need to have general liability insurance to receive a Short-Term Rental business license. Check the Denver Short-Term Rental Licensing page to learn about additional local insurance requirements.
According to Text Amendment #8: Short-Term Rentals of the Denver Zoning Code, Short-Term Rentals can’t be used for commercial events. The Denver Zoning Code also states that only one rental contract is permitted at any time in a short-term rental. Check the zoning code to learn more.
All short-term rentals must provide a rental packet containing contact information for the host and a local responsible party, safety information, as well as relevant rules and restrictions. Denver provides a template for what your rental packet should include. Denver requires every listing to have an operable smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, and fire extinguisher.
Review the Denver General Tax Information Booklet to learn how different taxes apply to your situation. Airbnb collects and pays the Denver’s Lodger’s Tax on your behalf. The 10.75% tax applies to the listing price and any cleaning fees within the first 29 nights of any reservation.
The Denver Treasury Division has more detailed information about taxes for short term rentals.
Other contracts and rules
As a host, you need to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, including leases, co-op rules, HOA rules, or other rules established by tenant organizations. You should be able to find out more by contacting your housing authority (such as a community council) or landlord. Your lease (or other contract) might also have specific details.
Our commitment to your community
We are committed to working with local officials to clarify how local rules impact the short term rental community. We will continue to advocate for changes that will enable people to rent out their homes.
Last updated: December 10, 2018