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Bend Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Bend, Oregon

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Bend

The city of Bend has seen rapid growth in short-term vacation rentals through platforms like Airbnb and VRBO in recent years. As of 2022, there were over 1,000 active short-term rental listings in Bend8. In response to this growth and its impacts on housing availability and neighborhood livability, the city has implemented a strict set of regulations for short-term rentals.

There are two main permit pathways for legally operating a short-term rental in Bend123:

  • Type I Owner-Occupied Permit: For renting up to 2 bedrooms in your primary residence on a short-term basis. There is no spacing requirement from other rentals for this type.
  • Type II Non-Owner Occupied Permit: For whole-home vacation rentals in a property that is not your primary residence. As of October 2022, these rentals cannot be located within 500 feet of another Type II rental, up from the previous 250 foot buffer5.

The permitting process, fees, taxes, and operating rules are the same for both types. But owner-occupied Type I rentals avoid the spacing rules and have fewer restrictions.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Bend

All short-term rentals in Bend, regardless of type, must obtain two approvals from the city before welcoming any guests13:

  • Short-Term Rental Land Use Permit - Ensures the property meets zoning requirements for rentals. Requires submitting site plans, floor plans, parking info, and proof of residency for Type I permits.
  • Short-Term Rental Operating License - Acts as the business license to legally rent short-term. Has an initial application fee of $275 and annual renewal fee of $200.

Both the land use permit and operating license are issued specifically to the property owner and rental address. They do not transfer upon sale of the property - new owners must apply for their own permits within 60 days13.

There are a few exceptions to needing a permit and license in Bend3:

  • Rentals in the Mt. Bachelor Village and Deschutes Landing developments
  • Rentals in certain lots in the Courtyards at Broken Top neighborhood

Required Documents for Bend Short Term Rentals

The Short-Term Rental Land Use Permit application requires submitting the following documents electronically through the city's online permit portal13:

  • Scaled site plan showing buildings, parking, and property boundaries
  • Floor plan(s) detailing layout of all rooms, bedrooms, entrances
  • Photos clearly showing dedicated parking spaces and garage
  • Proof of primary residence for Type I permits (voter registration, driver's license, etc.)

The city provides examples of acceptable site and floor plans to ensure submissions are complete. Incomplete applications will be returned, causing delays.

Short-term rental operators must also provide their 24/7 contact information to all neighboring property owners within a 250-foot radius on an annual basis13. This allows for quick resolution of any issues that may arise.

Bend Short Term Rental Taxes

Short-term rentals in Bend are subject to two local lodging taxes127:

  • City of Bend Transient Room Tax: 10.4% of the total rental amount including cleaning fees, pet fees, etc. Operators collect this from guests and remit it to the city monthly.
  • State of Oregon Transient Lodging Tax: 1.8% of total rental charges, in addition to the city tax. Also collected and remitted by the operator.

Rental operators must register with the City of Bend Tax Division to get set up for collecting and filing these taxes7. Failure to comply can result in penalties and potential loss of operating license.

Detailed records of all rental income, taxes collected, and exemptions claimed must be maintained and provided to the city upon request for auditing.

Bend-wide Short Term Rental Rules

Bend has several city-wide regulations for short-term rentals meant to limit neighborhood impacts123:

  • Occupancy cap based on bedrooms: Maximum 2 people per bedroom plus 2 additional. A 3-bedroom rental can host up to 8 people total.
  • Parking requirements: Minimum 1 off-street parking space per rented bedroom. Parking plan must be approved during permitting.
  • Quiet hours 10pm to 7am. No amplified music or disruptive noise during this time.
  • Trash/recycling containers must be screened from view and not left out on non-service days.
  • No outdoor upholstered furniture, pools, hot tubs, fire pits, or temporary structures allowed.
  • Liability insurance of $500,000 minimum required for Type II non-owner occupied rentals.
  • Annual operating license renewal with updated contact info and $200 fee before expiration.

The 500-foot buffer required between non-owner occupied Type II rentals as of October 2022 is one of the strictest spacing rules in Oregon5. It is meant to prevent clusters of vacation rentals and preserve housing for long-term residents. The city estimates this rule alone will make over 50% of residential properties ineligible for a Type II whole-home short-term rental permit5.

Does Bend strictly enforce STR rules? Is Bend Airbnb friendly?

Bend takes a proactive approach to enforcing its short-term rental regulations through monitoring, audits, and a complaint-based system. However, many residents feel enforcement does not go far enough.

The city has a team of code enforcement officers that actively monitor short-term rental listings on sites like Airbnb and VRBO8. They compare these online listings to the city's database of licensed rentals to identify unpermitted operators.

When an illegal rental is discovered or a complaint is received through the city's 24/7 short-term rental hotline, a code officer will investigate816. Enforcement can include warning letters, fines of $750 per violation, and potentially revoking the operating license8.

In 2022, the Bend City Council was considering increasing funding to add more code enforcement staff focused on short-term rental monitoring and compliance8. But currently the system is still largely reactive to complaints vs. proactive.

There is a widespread perception, frequently discussed on online forums like Reddit's /r/Bend and real estate investing sites like Bigger Pockets, that many short-term rentals in Bend are operating illegally or out of compliance with occupancy, parking, and other rules69.

Residents argue that the current complaint-based enforcement allows violations to go unaddressed until a neighbor reports it56. Some call for the city to do more systematic audits, like comparing rental booking data to lodging tax payments to uncover potential violations6.

Compared to other cities in Oregon, Bend has some of the strictest regulations on short-term rentals29. This has led to differing opinions on how "Airbnb friendly" the city is.

On one hand, Bend does allow short-term rentals to operate with the proper permits and licenses. In cities like Portland, short-term rentals are only allowed in an owner's primary residence and many other cities have fully banned non-owner occupied vacation rentals2.

Bend has taken a more balanced approach by allowing whole-home rentals in some cases, with the 500-foot separation requirement to limit concentration in any one area15. The city sees short-term rentals as an important part of the tourism economy.

However, the 500-foot rule, annual operating license renewal fees, liability insurance requirements, and other regulations in Bend are more restrictive than many other cities29. For example, popular Oregon coast destinations like Lincoln City and Seaside allow short-term rentals with fewer location restrictions and lower permit fees2.

So while Bend has not banned short-term rentals outright, the city prioritizes protecting residential neighborhood character and housing availability over promoting a fully unregulated vacation rental market58. The extensive rules and active enforcement efforts do create barriers for Airbnb operators compared to looser regulations elsewhere.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Bend

Legally operating a short-term rental in Bend involves several key steps139:

  • Check your property's eligibility using the city's online STR Eligibility Map. See if the location meets zoning and spacing rules.
  • Choose between a Type I owner-occupied or Type II non-owner occupied permit based on if it will be your primary residence.
  • Gather required documents
  • Submit the Short-Term Rental Land Use Permit application with all documents via the Online Permit Center. Allow 2-4 weeks for review.

Within 60 days of land use permit approval, apply for the Short-Term Rental Operating License and pay $275 fee.

  • Register with City of Bend Tax Division to collect and remit transient lodging taxes from guests.
  • Provide 24/7 contact info to neighbors within 250 feet each year.
  • Obtain required $500,000 liability insurance (Type II).
  • Set up online listing on Airbnb, VRBO, etc. Include all rules and permit # in listing.
  • Renew operating license annually before expiration. Pay $200 renewal fee.
  • Maintain detailed rental records. Respond promptly to any complaints to avoid violations.

Responsible hosts who follow all rules and maintain open communication with the city and neighbors can successfully operate short-term rentals in Bend. But cutting corners or trying to skirt regulations will likely lead to enforcement issues.

Who to contact in Bend about Short Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

Bend has two main city departments overseeing short-term rental regulations:

Planning/Zoning Questions:
City of Bend Planning Division
Phone: 541-388-5580 ext. 3
Email: planning@bendoregon.gov

  • Handles Short-Term Rental Land Use Permit applications
  • Answers questions about zoning, spacing, parking, occupancy rules
  • Provides interpretation of development code rules for rentals

Operating License/Tax/Enforcement Questions:
City of Bend Business Registration & Licensing Program
Phone: 541-388-5513
Email: businesslicense@bendoregon.gov

  • Manages Short-Term Rental Operating License applications and renewals
  • Registers operators for transient lodging tax collection
  • Conducts enforcement for license violations and complaints

For urgent issues at a rental property, the 24/7 Short-Term Rental Hotline is 541-388-557316.

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

There are active discussions about Bend's short-term rental regulations in online forums like Reddit's /r/Bend and real estate investing groups on Bigger Pockets. Opinions are mixed:

Many hosts feel Bend's rules, particularly the 500-foot spacing requirement, are overly restrictive and make it difficult to get approved for new non-owner occupied rentals56. There are concerns the city is trying to limit short-term rentals in favor of hotels.

However, others argue the regulations are necessary to preserve long-term rental housing and neighborhood livability58. Residents worry that over 1,000 short-term rentals, if left unchecked, will erode Bend's community character.

On Bigger Pockets, veteran Bend hosts recommend starting with a Type I owner-occupied rental to avoid the spacing rules9. They advise carefully following all regulations on occupancy, parking, noise, and trash to be a good neighbor and not attract complaints.

There is frustration with the annual operating license fee of $200 being higher than other cities9. But hosts agree it is a necessary cost of legally running an STR business in Bend.

Overall, the consensus is that Bend's short-term rental regulations, while strict, are manageable for responsible hosts who educate themselves and follow the rules69. The city is seen as trying to find a middle ground between allowing STRs and protecting housing and neighborhood concerns.

However, hosts and residents alike feel the city needs to do more to crack down on the large number of illegal, unlicensed rentals skirting the rules568. Many compliant operators are frustrated that violators seem to face few consequences unless a neighbor complains.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.