Spokane, Washington, to enforce new rules for short-term rentals starting January 2024
- Jan 3, 2024 | Jennifer Sokolowsky
Spokane, Washington, will start enforcing new short-term rental (STR) regulations in January 2024. That’s when owners of STRs operating without a permit may begin receiving notification that they’ve been identified as noncompliant. Notices will include instructions on how to apply for a permit and recipients will have a 30-day grace period to comply.
The City Council amended Spokane’s STR ordinance in July and the new rules went into effect September 1. Under the amendments:
- STRs are now allowed in all areas zoned for residential use
- The number of STR units in multifamily buildings are limited to no more than 20% of units in residential zones and no more than 30% of the units in nonresidential zones
- Property owners are required to submit an annual Life Safety Compliance form showing that they maintain basic safety features
The amendments were driven by data showing that many STRs were operating in nonresidential zones but didn’t have a straightforward way to comply with STR regulations. The updated rules offer a streamlined permitting process.
The law defines short-term rentals as rentals in a residential dwelling for fewer than 30 days. Owners are required to apply for a permit for each property they operate, with one STR allowed per detached single-family structure, accessory dwelling unit, or attached single-family structure. STRs that received permits before the new rules were approved may continue to operate if they meet certain requirements.
Operators must pay an application fee of $200 for residential zones and $300 for other zones and renew permits each year. Renewal fees are $100 for properties in residential zones and $150 for STRs in other zones. Owners must include their permit number in advertisements, notify neighbors about their operation, provide proof of liability insurance, and share site and floor plans. STR operators in Spokane are also required to apply for a city business license.
Spokane has 3,658 active short-term rentals, according to AirDNA, a short-term rental data company. According to the city, 219 STRs had received permits before the latest STR law amendments went into effect, but only 44 of those were active. The city has contracted with software provider Granicus to help authorities identify and monitor short-term rental properties and communicate with STR operators.
Spokane short-term rental hosts are required to collect state and local sales taxes from their guests and pass them on to tax authorities. Both Airbnb and Vrbo collect state and local lodging taxes for Washington state hosts.
Even though these short-term rental marketplaces collect lodging taxes on behalf of operators, Washington state hosts are still required to register with the state Department of Revenue and file lodging tax returns reporting their rental income.
Washington state vacation rental hosts whose taxes are not collected by marketplaces are responsible for registration, collection, and filing of all taxes due on their short-term rentals. Avalara MyLodgeTax can help Washington state short-term rental hosts automate and simplify lodging tax compliance.
For more on short-term rental taxes in Washington state, see our state vacation rental tax guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.