A short-term rental (“STR”) is usually residential property that you rent out for less than thirty days. Usually, these rentals are offered through popular websites such as VRBO and Airbnb. In Colorado, STRs are governed by state, city, and municipal laws. In this blog, we explain some of the STR laws of a few different cities and counties in Colorado.
City and County of Denver
The City and County of Denver requires homeowners to obtain a license as a prerequisite to offering your home as a STR. Additionally, the homeowner’s STR property must be the owner’s primary residence.
A primary residence is determined by things such as the homeowner’s driver’s license, utility bills, and vehicle registrations, among other factors. Also, for purposes of obtaining a STR license, a homeowner cannot have more than one primary residence; Denver homeowners cannot short-term rent their second home or investment property.
City and County of Broomfield
STRs in the City and County of Broomfield are those that are less than thirty days. Additionally, a principal residence here means a dwelling unit in which a person resides for more than half of the year.
However, if (1) the entire unit is offered and available for rental for more than twenty days in any month; or (2) the person’s spouse or domestic partner has a different principal residence; or (3) the person’s driver’s license, voter registration, or any dependent’s school registration shows a different residence address, or (4) the Broomfield County Assessor lists a mailing address different from the dwelling unit address, it is presumed that the dwelling unit in question is not a principal residence.
The Boulder County Land Use Code defines STRs as dwellings that are rented in durations of less than thirty days and includes dwellings rented out by individual owners and dwellings rented out on behalf of an owner by a property management group.
Boulder County also has additional requirements for rentals of fifteen nights or more per year and forty-five nights or more per year. Furthermore, there are specific provisions regarding meeting applicable public health regulations, building code requirements, legal access, fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide instructions, and noise and parking ordinances.
Note that Boulder County is comprised of the unincorporated areas of the county plus are joined in partnership by ten incorporated towns and cities, including Boulder, Erie, Louisville, Longmont, Lyons, and more. In many cases, if you live in an incorporated municipality (i.e., a city or town), your first contact level of local government will be your city or town hall to determine your STR rights.
City of Fort Collins
The City of Fort Collins defines two types of STRs. A “non-primary STR” is a dwelling unit that is not a primary residence and that is leased in its entirety to one party at a time for periods of less than thirty consecutive days. A “primary STR” is a dwelling unit that that is the owner’s primary home and a portion of the home is leased to one party at a time for periods of less than thirty consecutive days, but where the owner must reside at least nine months out of the year.
The owner must additionally be open to additional inspections upon complaint and must complete and self-certify that the STR meets the required safety standards.
City of Colorado Springs
For STRs in the City of Colorado Springs, an STR applicant must meet two threshold requirements: (1) the unit or partial unit is rented for less than thirty days at a time; and (2) the unit or partial unit is not owned by the federal government, the state, or the City of Colorado Springs, or any of their agencies, or facilities licensed by the state as health care facilities.
Additionally, the homeowner must provide proof of at least $500,000 in liability insurance. STR renters in Colorado Springs also cannot host weddings or large social or commercial events at the STR.
These are just a few of the considerations and requirements to obtaining a STR license. There may be tax considerations and other ordinances not included in the above summaries. It is important to seek the advice of an attorney prior to purchasing an investment property that you intend to use as a short-term rental, or if you just want to learn more about the short-term rental options where you live. Contact the experienced attorneys at Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. if you need help determining your short-term rental rights in Colorado.