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Arvada Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Arvada, Colorado

What are short term rental (Airbnb, VRBO) regulations in Arvada, Colorado?

Arvada defines a short term rental (STR) as a dwelling or accessory dwelling unit rented out for less than 30 consecutive days. The city legalized and set regulations for STRs in August 2020.

To operate a STR business in Arvada, you need to obtain a $150 short term rental permit and business license from the city. The permit needs annual renewal. One owner can operate up to 3 STR properties in Arvada but only allow one reservation per property per night. The property can be rented out for a maximum of 240 days per calendar year.

Reddit users describe Arvada as not Airbnb friendly compared to Denver. Hosts mention strict enforcement and monitoring by the city. BiggerPockets users also state it has extensive regulations compared to other areas in Colorado.

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Arvada

Arvada presents a reasonably welcoming environment for short term rental entrepreneurs compared to other cities in Colorado. While regulations exist to govern vacation rentals, the permit process is straightforward and affordable.As an initial step, thoroughly research the city regulations around short term rentals.

The Arvada planning department website contains detailed guides on zoning statutes, licensing steps, tax requirements and more. You can also directly contact the planning department staff with any questions.Next, formally apply for a short term rental permit and business license.

The permit application involves providing details like floor plans, proof of insurance, local contact information, and more. The annual licensing fee is currently $150 and allows up to 3 short term rental properties per owner.With the permit in hand, you can move on to listing your property on platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking.com.

As part of the rental rules, you need to register for and pay applicable city and state lodging taxes. Services like MyLodgeTax can fully automate tax filing and payment.During operation, strictly follow regulations around maximum annual rental days, parking, noise limits and prompt response to any complaints from neighbors.

You are also required to provide guests with city guidelines on short term rental etiquette.While enforcement action for non-compliance is currently limited in Arvada, it helps to stay up to date on any changes in regulations through direct outreach to the planning department staff.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Arvada

Operating a compliant and legal short term rental in Arvada requires properly licensing your property through the city. While the licensing process may seem daunting at first, this guide breaks it down into clear, actionable steps to set up your STR business smoothly.

Step 1: Apply for a Short Term Rental Permit

This permit allows you to rent out your property in Arvada for less than 30 consecutive days. The permit costs $150 and needs renewing every year. Applications are submitted online through the city's eTRAKiT system.

Step 2: Obtain a Business License

Along with the STR permit, you also need a general business license to transact business in the city. This also costs $150 annually. You can bundle both permit and license applications together in eTRAKiT for convenience.

Step 3: Register for Lodging Taxes

Arvada charges a 5% lodging tax on short term rental income. While Airbnb may handle state taxes, local taxes need registering with the city finance department. Services like MyLodgeTax simplify lodging tax compliance.

Step 4: Display Permit and License

The permit and license must be clearly displayed on your STR listing. This assures guests of your legal compliance and good standing with Arvada regulations.

As you can see, becoming a licensed host is straightforward in Arvada. With some planning and attention to detail, your STR business can operate smoothly under the city's fair oversight. Reach out to the Arvada Planning Department for any licensing questions or concerns.

Required Documents for Arvada Short Term Rentals

To operate legally, short term rental hosts in Arvada need to submit certain documents as part of the licensing application. Preparing these documents thoroughly will ensure quick approval and prevent future issues.

Written Authorization from Property Owner

If you are not the owner of the short term rental property, provide written proof that you have permission to operate it as a rental. This should clearly state the owner consents to using the property as a short term rental.

Acknowledgement from Long Term Renters

For shared properties, if there are any long term renters, submit a signed letter showing they agree to the short term rental. Get their acknowledgement of the city regulations like parking rules, noise limits etc. that will apply.

Floor Plan

Provide a floor plan mapping all rooms, with emergency equipment like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors clearly marked. This allows the city to verify safety standards are met.

Proof of Insurance

Carry proof of valid short term rental or landlord insurance that covers property damage, injuries and losses. This gives guests and the city assurance that liabilities are covered.

24/7 Local Contact Information

Share phone and email details for a local contact who can respond within 1 hour if any complaints are received from neighbors or guests. Quick response is key to avoiding penalties.

Arvada Short Term Rental Taxes

As a short term rental host in Arvada, proper tax compliance is crucial for smooth business operations.

The city imposes a 5% lodging tax on all short term rental properties, applicable for stays less than 30 consecutive days.While Airbnb, Vrbo and other platforms may handle state administered taxes automatically, as a host you are still responsible for local Arvada lodging taxes.

This means registering with the city finance department, filing regular tax returns, and remitting payment on time.

MyLodgeTax and other automated services can simplify this process by:

  • Automatically calculating taxes per stay
  • Filing lodging tax returns
  • Remitting payment to the city on your behalf

Using automated software reduces the administrative hassle and ensures 100% accurate compliance. You simply provide details of bookings, and the service handles everything else related to Arvada's 5% lodging tax.

As regulations evolve, proper lodging tax compliance gives your Arvada short term rental business credibility. It also avoids penalties or interest charges from late payments if you manually handle taxes.

Colorado Wide Short Term Rental Rules

Unlike strict cities like Boulder, Colorado state laws take a relatively permissive stance on short term vacation rentals. There are no restrictions on non-owner occupied properties being rented out short term across the state.

This allows out-of-state investors to purchase properties solely to operate as short term rentals.However, municipalities and counties in Colorado have the authority to regulate short term rentals locally as they see fit.

As a result, major cities and counties have enacted their own regulations and restrictions:

  • The City and County of Denver requires all short term rental hosts to obtain a license. Hosts can only rent their primary residences, not investment properties. Rentals are also capped at 90 days per year when the host is not present.
  • Colorado Springs requires registration of all short term rentals but does not limit rental days. However, there are stringent rules around noise, parking, trash collection and neighborhood impacts.
  • Boulder has an extensive short term rental licensing and annual renewal requirement. Non-owner occupied properties cannot be rented short term at all in most zones. Owner-occupied rentals have nights per year caps.
  • Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties around Denver currently have no short term rental regulations. This allows vacation rentals to operate freely.

In summary, Colorado state laws take a light touch approach to regulating short term vacation rentals, leaving counties and cities to impose their own limitations and requirements.

This creates a complex patchwork of local rules that hosts must be aware of.

Does Arvada Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Arvada takes short term rental regulations seriously. The city planning department actively monitors rental listings on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo to identify unpermitted properties. If found operating without a license, hefty fines up to $999 per violation can be charged daily until compliance is achieved.

The city utilizes third party services that scrape rental listings across the web and match to local property records. If a discrepancy is found, the planning officials first issue warnings and provide information to get permitted. However if hosts fail to comply even after multiple notices, steep penalties are levied.

In 2021, over a dozen Airbnb hosts were fined over $15,000 collectively for operating without licenses according to municipal records. The city issued a stern warning that enforcement efforts will only intensify going forward.

While manpower limitations constrain active policing currently, Arvada is considered moderately strict compared to Colorado cities like Denver and Aurora with more lenient oversight. Hosts operating legally acknowledge that the stringent regulations are a tradeoff for the business opportunity short term rentals offer. As regulations evolve, responsible hosts recommend consulting the city frequently to avoid surprises.

So in summary, Arvada does strictly enforce short term rental rules to the extent resources permit currently. With increasing scrutiny expected, hosts are advised to fully comply with licensing and tax requirements to avoid potentially business-ending penalties.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Arvada

Starting an STR business in Arvada requires careful planning and preparation. As an aspiring host, follow this step-by-step guide to ensure full compliance and smooth operations:

Research the regulations thoroughly. Read through the city's STR ordinance, FAQs, and planning department resources. Consult the links shared earlier for details on licensing, taxes, zoning, penalties etc. Make a checklist of all requirements.

Evaluate your property. Ensure your property meets requirements like parking, safety equipment etc. Consider amenities to make it more attractive to guests.

Apply for the permit and business license. Submit the required documents and fees to the city via the eTRAKiT permitting system. This can take 2-3 weeks for approval.

Register for taxes. Even if using a rental platform, you must register for city lodging taxes. Services like MyLodgeTax simplify tax filing.

Create listing content. Write an appealing listing with photos, availability calendar, pricing, house rules etc. Highlight what makes your rental unique.

List on rental platforms. Create accounts on Airbnb, Vrbo etc. and publish your listing. Ensure complete compliance as platforms share data with Arvada.

Welcome your first guests! Respond to inquiries, confirm bookings, prepare the rental, greet guests etc. Provide them the mandatory city pamphlet.

Maintain records. Keep lodging tax accounts, rental logs, incident reports and other documentation current. Submit annual rental log to the city.

With strategic planning and persistent effort, your Arvada STR business can thrive despite the regulations. Stay organized and commit to ongoing compliance.

Who to Contact About Short Term Rental Regulations and Zoning

Contact the Arvada Planning and Zoning Division:

Phone: 720-898-7010
Email: planning@arvada.org

What do Airbnb hosts in Arvada on Reddit and Bigger Pockets think about local regulations?

Arvada hosts are quite vocal regarding short term rental regulations on popular real estate forums like Reddit and BiggerPockets. Here is a summary of the key sentiments:Hosts acknowledge the regulations are more stringent compared to other Colorado cities but are needed to maintain neighborhood character. As one host on Reddit explains:

"The rules seem restrictive at first but are easy to comply with. Arvada wants to avoid becoming the next over-touristed Denver or Boulder while allowing responsible hosting."

Most hosts have adapted their operating model around the 240 day rental limit and feel it provides balance. There is general consensus that enforcement resources are currently limited, leading to some illegal listings. However hosts warn against non-compliance due to steep penalties.

A major pain point is the lack of clarity around zoning regulations for different property types. For example, a BiggerPockets user asks:

"I have a detached ADU with a separate address from the main house. Does the 1 reservation per night rule still apply even though they are technically separate properties?"

Such questions illustrate the complexity of regulations for different scenarios. Most hosts believe the planning department contacts are responsive and urge new hosts to consult them frequently rather than rely on hearsay.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.