Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.

Durham Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Durham, North Carolina

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Durham

The City of Durham, North Carolina does not currently have any specific short-term rental legislation in place13. This means that Durham vacation rental properties are regulated by the general North Carolina short-term rental laws. Most importantly, hosts need to provide a fit and safe property, sign a written vacation rental agreement with guests, and pay state and local sales and occupancy taxes1.

The lack of Durham-specific Airbnb laws is one of the reasons for the quick spread of new short-term rentals in the city1. Durham's real estate market offers opportunities for both long-term rentals and short-term vacation rentals, allowing investors to tailor their investments to their preferences and financial goals7.

When starting a short-term rental business in Durham, it's important to take legal and tax advice before getting started. Familiarize yourself with regulations and restrictions in your local county or city16. Although Durham allows short-term rentals, you may need a business license to host guests and create a separate account for your personal and business income16. Getting advice from a business attorney and a tax advisor is highly recommended to register your business and obtain the required certifications16.

Another crucial step is securing your property with insurance. No one likes to pay for vacation rental insurance, but it's essential to prepare for unexpected situations16. Before making your vacation rental properties available, gather the best insurance options in the market and carefully pick the right one for you16. Pay special attention to the "exclusions" section to see what's covered and what's not.

Creating a business plan is also a key part of starting a short-term rental business in Durham. A well-thought-out plan can guide your strategy, identify risks, and help you secure funding to expand and grow your enterprise12. Your business plan should include an executive summary, company description, organization and management structure, market analysis, marketing and sales strategy, financial projections, and funding request12.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Durham

Since there are no Durham-specific short-term rental regulations, hosts are not required to obtain any special licenses or permits to operate a vacation rental13. However, all residential rental properties in Durham, including short-term rentals, fall under the city's Proactive Rental Inspection Program (PRIP)8.

The purpose of PRIP is to proactively identify and remediate rental housing that does not meet the City of Durham's Minimum Housing Code8. Proactive rental inspections are conducted in residential rental buildings based on reasonable cause or being located in areas designated by the City Council8.

The PRIP applies to all residential rental properties in Durham, including rooming and boarding houses as defined in the Minimum Housing Code14. Property owners with a rental property that has 3 or more Minimum Housing Code violations in the prior year are required to register their rental property with the Department of Neighborhood Improvement Services, except for those owners meeting the conditions of the Compliance Incentive Program14.

Required Documents for Durham Short Term Rentals

While no special documents are required to operate a short-term rental in Durham, hosts should have a written rental agreement with their guests1. This agreement should outline the terms of the stay, house rules, and any other important information.

Additionally, if a short-term rental property is part of a homeowners association (HOA) or condominium association, the host should review their bylaws and rules to ensure compliance5. Some associations may have restrictions on short-term rentals.

Durham Short Term Rental Taxes

Short-term rental hosts in Durham are required to collect and remit certain taxes on their rental income6. In North Carolina, hosts renting their properties for 15 or more days a year must collect and remit state sales tax (4.75%) and any applicable local occupancy taxes56.

The County of Durham assesses a room occupancy tax of 6% on accommodations rented for less than 90 days417. Airbnb automatically collects and remits this tax on behalf of hosts in Durham518. However, hosts are still responsible for assessing all other tax obligations, including state and city jurisdictions18.

It's important for hosts to review their agreement with Airbnb under the Terms of Service and familiarize themselves with the Occupancy Tax provisions which allow Airbnb to collect and remit taxes on their behalf18. If a host believes applicable laws exempt them from collecting a tax that Airbnb collects and remits, by accepting the reservation, the host is waiving that exemption18.

Durham-wide Short Term Rental Rules

While Durham does not have any specific short-term rental regulations, there are some general rules that apply to all residential properties in the city:

  • Properties must meet the standards outlined in the City of Durham's Minimum Housing Code811
  • Occupancy is typically limited to 2 people per bedroom plus 2 additional guests6
  • Parking may be limited based on the number of bedrooms6
  • Noise ordinances are enforced, especially after 10pm6

Short-term rental operators should comply with all applicable state and local laws, including those relating to fire and building codes, smoke detecting and carbon monoxide detecting equipment, housing codes, and payment of taxes611. Every short-term rental operator should also maintain a list of all short-term rental lodgers staying on the premises for a period of three years6.

Does Durham strictly enforce STR rules?

Based on discussions in online real estate investing communities, Durham appears to be relatively Airbnb-friendly compared to other cities121416. The lack of specific short-term rental regulations makes it easier for hosts to operate13.

However, the city does enforce its general housing and zoning codes through programs like PRIP81114. Hosts should ensure their properties are up to code and follow all applicable rules. Some hosts have reported operating successfully in Durham despite the PRIP inspections16.

The level of enforcement of STR rules in Durham and the overall friendliness of the city towards Airbnb and other short-term rentals are not explicitly addressed in the provided sources. However, the lack of Durham-specific Airbnb laws appears to be one of the reasons for the quick spread of new short-term rentals in the city1.

Compared to other North Carolina cities like Raleigh, which recently implemented new short-term rental regulations requiring zoning permits6, Durham seems to be more accommodating to vacation rentals at this time. However, as the industry grows, it's possible that the city may adopt more stringent regulations in the future.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Durham

  • Research the local market and regulations to ensure compliance56
  • Take legal and tax advice to register your business and obtain required certifications16
  • Secure your property with appropriate insurance coverage16
  • Create a detailed business plan to guide your strategy and growth12
  • Set up your property for guests, including furnishings, amenities, and safety features16
  • List your property on popular vacation rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO1619
  • Establish house rules and a rental agreement for guests116
  • Implement a system for cleaning and maintenance between guest stays1619
  • Understand and comply with tax collection and remittance requirements45618
  • Leverage digital marketing tactics to promote your listing and attract guests16
  • Prioritize the guest experience to encourage positive reviews and repeat bookings16

Starting a short-term rental business in Durham requires careful planning, financial investment, and a commitment to providing excellent service to guests16. By following these steps and staying informed about local regulations, hosts can tap into the growing demand for vacation rentals in the area.

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

For questions about short-term rentals and compliance with the Minimum Housing Code, contact the Durham City-County Planning Department:

  • Phone: (919) 560-4137
  • Email: planning@durhamnc.gov
  • Website: https://durhamnc.gov/414/City-County-Planning

For information about the Proactive Rental Inspection Program (PRIP), contact the Department of Neighborhood Improvement Services:

  • Phone: (919) 560-1647
  • Email: nis@durhamnc.gov
  • Website: https://durhamnc.gov/604/Proactive-Rental-Inspection-Program-PRIP

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

  • "I currently have eight properties available. Looking for a flip? Got em. Looking for a short term rental? Yep, that too." - Connected Investors forum16
  • "Could someone please point me towards where I can view [short-term rental regulation] information? I am having a hard time finding it..." - Reddit r/NorthCarolina1
  • "We're moving from our home to another home and are looking for a short term rental in Chapel Hill, starting mid-August. Any suggestions where to start." - City-Data forum14

Overall, hosts on real estate forums seem to operate short-term rentals successfully in Durham, with few comments about restrictive regulations. The lack of city-specific rules appears to make Durham an attractive market for vacation rentals137.

However, some hosts have expressed difficulty finding clear information about short-term rental regulations in Durham1. This highlights the importance of thoroughly researching local laws and contacting city officials for guidance.

As the vacation rental industry continues to grow in Durham, it will be important for hosts to stay informed about any potential changes to local regulations. Joining online communities and forums can be a helpful way to connect with other local hosts, share experiences, and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the market.

In conclusion, Durham's lack of specific short-term rental regulations, combined with its strong real estate market and growing tourism industry, make it an appealing destination for vacation rental hosts. By carefully researching local laws, creating a solid business plan, and prioritizing guest experience, hosts can build successful and profitable short-term rental businesses in the Bull City.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.