Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.

Evansville Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Evansville, Indiana

What are short term rental (Airbnb, VRBO) regulations in Evansville, Indiana?

Operating a short-term rental (STR) property on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo has become an increasingly popular way for homeowners to earn extra income. However, cities across the country have scrambled to update local regulations to keep pace with the rapid growth of short-term rentals.

So what are the specific laws and requirements for Airbnb and other STR hosts in Evansville? This guide will clarify the local regulations, taxes, permitting rules, and other key details hosts need to legally run a short-term rental business out of their Evansville property.

We’ll cover topics like:

  • Do you need a permit to operate an Airbnb rental in Evansville?
  • What taxes do hosts need to collect and remit?
  • Are their restrictions on which homes can be rented short-term?
  • Does the city enforce compliance and how often do they audit hosts?

Understanding the legal landscape is crucial for hosts to avoid fines or other issues. While Evansville has relatively minimal red tape compared to some cities, hosts still must cross key requirements off their checklist. We’ll break down exactly what hosts need to do to legally operate their property as a short-term rental in Evansville.

What are short term rental (Airbnb, VRBO) regulations in Evansville, Indiana?

Operating a short-term rental (STR) property on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo has become an increasingly popular way for homeowners to earn extra income. However, cities across the country have scrambled to adapt their regulations to accommodate this new type of rental activity. So what are the specific laws pertaining to short-term rentals in Evansville, IN?

As it stands, the city of Evansville has relatively minimal regulations concerning short-term rental properties compared to other cities in Indiana and across the U.S. There is no strict licensing program or caps on the number of rental nights. However, there are a few basic rules that hosts should understand before listing their properties.

First, all residential rental properties in Evansville, including short-term rentals, must register annually with the city's Building Commission. There is a $5 registration fee per rental parcel. Additionally, hosts must obtain a certificate of occupancy by passing an inspection of their rental property.

When it comes to taxes, hosts must collect and remit the 7% Vanderburgh County innkeeper's tax on all bookings. The city does enforce noise regulations which could impact late-night renters. Overall though, Evansville takes a relatively hands-off approach when it comes to monitoring and restricting short-term rental activity.

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Evansville

Launching a successful short term rental (STR) business in Evansville is straightforward thanks to the city's relatively relaxed regulations. As an STR entrepreneur, you can tap into demand from visitors coming for events, festivals, and outdoor recreation.

The key steps to begin legally operating a short term rental in Evansville include:

Acquire an Investment Property

The first step is purchasing or leasing a property to rent out to travelers and tourists. Evansville offers affordable real estate prices compared to national averages. Optimal neighborhoods to consider are historic districts downtown and along the Ohio River. Focus on homes with character, outdoor space, and proximity to attractions.

Register as an Official Rental

You must register all rental properties with the city's Building Commission, including short term rentals. The cost is only $5 per year. Registration ensures compliance with safety and zoning regulations.

Pass Inspection and Obtain Certificate of Occupancy

Your rental property must pass inspection by the city to receive an official certificate of occupancy. This verifies the property meets basic safety and livability standards.

Collect and Remit Lodging Taxes

As an STR operator, you need to charge guests the 7% Vanderburgh County innkeeper's tax and remit collections to the proper authorities. This is the only extra tax burden compared to long term rentals.

List on Rental Platforms and Start Hosting

Once your regulatory obligations are met, list your STR on sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com. Focus on professional photography, detailed listings, and competitive pricing to attract bookings and delighted guests eager to explore Evansville!

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Evansville

Operating a smooth and legally compliant short term rental (STR) business requires understanding the local licensing landscape. I'll clarify the key requirements for your Evansville STR licensing.

First, all rental properties in Evansville, including STRs, must register with the city’s Building Commission. This applies whether you own a single vacation rental property or manage a portfolio of Airbnbs.

The registration process is straightforward:

  • Complete the online registration form annually
  • Pay $5 per rental property parcel
  • Provide accurate owner/agent contact information

Registration ensures the city has your details on file should any issues arise. It also helps them understand trends in the local rental market.Next, the property itself needs a certificate of occupancy from the Building Commission.

This requires scheduling an inspection to confirm the property meets safety and zoning requirements.I advise registering your property first so you have all the proper documentation ready when it comes time for the certificate of occupancy inspection.Following these key steps allows you to operate your Evansville STR legally.

The city's hands-off approach makes licensing straightforward compared to more restrictive cities. Still, compliance protects your business and rental income.

Required Documents for Evansville Short Term Rentals

Operating a short term rental (STR) in Evansville requires hosts to have proper documentation in place. This ensures compliance with local regulations and provides guests with confidence in booking your property.

The key documents STR hosts in Evansville need include:

Rental Property Registration

All hosts must register as a rental property with the city's Building Commission. This involves submitting an application and paying a $5 annual fee. Registration must be renewed each year.

Certificate of Occupancy

Along with rental registration, Evansville requires STRs to obtain a certificate of occupancy. This necessitates scheduling an inspection of your rental to ensure it meets safety and zoning requirements. Certificates of occupancy must be displayed publicly inside the STR.

Innkeeper's Tax Registration

Collecting and remitting the 7% Vanderburgh County innkeeper’s tax is mandatory for STR hosts. You'll need to register with the Convention & Visitors Bureau to obtain an innkeeper’s tax account number. This allows you to properly collect and pay the lodging tax.

Keeping these documents up to date is crucial for complying with Evansville's STR rules. Proper documentation also shows renters you operate a legitimate business, encouraging bookings. Reach out to the Rental Registry & Housing Coordinator with any questions about STR permits.

Evansville Short Term Rental Taxes

Operating a short term rental (STR) in Evansville requires collecting and remitting applicable taxes. As a host, it is crucial to understand the tax obligations to remain compliant.

The primary tax that applies to STRs in Evansville is the 7% Vanderburgh County innkeeper's tax. All hosts renting out properties for less than 30 consecutive days must charge guests this lodging tax and submit collections to the county.

The innkeeper's tax applies to the entire amount paid for the rental, including any cleaning fees or other charges. Hosts should factor this 7% tax into their nightly rates. Some listing sites like Airbnb may handle tax collection and remittance automatically, but it remains the host's responsibility to confirm tax compliance.

In addition to the county innkeeper's tax, hosts must collect Indiana's 7% sales tax on rentals of less than 30 days. Airbnb and other platforms generally integrate sales tax collection as well.

For hosts managing their own bookings and payments outside of major listing sites, independent tax registration with both Vanderburgh County and the Indiana Department of Revenue is required.

In summary, short term rental hosts operating in Evansville must register their business, collect a combined 14% lodging and sales tax from guests, and submit regular tax payments to the county and state. Understanding these requirements is vital for hosts to successfully launch and operate STRs in Evansville and avoid non-compliance issues.

Indiana wide Short Term Rental Rules

Unlike some states, Indiana does not have a comprehensive set of statewide statutes specifically regulating short term rentals across all cities and counties. However, in 2018 the Indiana legislature passed a law to limit local governments' ability to prohibit or restrict STRs. The key aspects of this state law (Indiana Code § 36-1-24) are:

  • Defines short term rentals and creates a framework for STR regulations
  • Prohibits local bans on owner-occupied STRs (a primary residence rented out for less than 30 days)
  • Allows non-owner-occupied STRs if they obtain a permit or zoning variance
  • Limits permit fees localities can charge to $150 maximum
  • Makes operating an STR without a required local permit a Class C infraction with fines up to $500 per violation
  • Prevents regulations on STR booking platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo
  • Allows localities to regulate STRs for public health and safety reasons

So while the state law doesn't establish universal STR rules, it does restrict outright bans and excessive regulation. Local jurisdictions can set their own specific requirements and restrictions as long as they align with the framework in the Indiana Code.

As a result, STR regulation varies significantly across the state depending on the county and municipality. Some places like Indianapolis and Fort Wayne have extensive regulatory schemes, while many smaller localities have minimal or no STR rules. Investors must research regulations for their specific target market.

Does Evansville strictly enforce STR rules?

Evansville does not strictly enforce regulations around short-term rentals (STRs). The city primarily relies on a complaints-based system for enforcement rather than proactively monitoring and penalizing hosts.

Hosts operating STRs in Evansville report very few issues with city officials, even when not fully compliant with regulations like registering rental properties. As one host explained on Reddit, "I have a couple Airbnbs here and honestly don't even think twice about the city coming after me. They don't seem to care whatsoever about people doing short term rentals here."

Other hosts on forums like BiggerPockets tell similar stories. Most describe city officials taking a hands-off, "don't ask, don't tell" stance towards STRs. As long as neighbors don't complain and taxes are paid, the city seems content to let the STR market operate freely.

Compared to cities like Los Angeles that have imposed severe restrictions and penalties around STRs, Evansville can be considered relatively Airbnb-friendly. The city has embraced the economic boost from short-term rental demand rather than over-regulating. While some skepticism exists that the city may eventually tighten rules, for now hosts feel they can comfortably operate STRs in Evansville with minimal oversight or enforcement.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Evansville?

Starting a profitable and legal short term rental business in Evansville requires some planning but is very achievable if you follow these steps:

Research the Market Thoroughly

Conduct in-depth research to understand Evansville's short term rental market inside out. Analyze factors like seasonal demand fluctuations, local events that drive tourism, popular neighborhood rentals, amenity preferences, and average rental rates for different property types. This will help you identify the right investment property, amenities, and pricing strategy.

Choose the Right Property

Look for a property that matches the demand profile based on your market research. For Evansville, properties near the Ohio River, downtown, popular attractions, and entertainment hubs tend to do well. Opt for a property that allows short term rentals per local zoning regulations. Consider amenities that guests prefer like free parking, AC, and fast Wi-Fi.

Handle Licensing and Permits

Register your rental property with the city's Building Commission for $5 per rental parcel. Obtain the certificate of occupancy by passing a safety inspection. Display all legally required signage. This ensures you operate a legitimate business as per city regulations.

Furnish and Prepare Property

Furnish your property suitably for short term guests. Include amenities listed in your rental listing. Stock essentials like toiletries, coffee, snacks, and cleaning supplies.

Market Your Property Smartly

Create a listing that is concise, visually appealing and highlights your property’s best features. Utilize high-quality photographs to showcase your space. List your property on multiple platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, Vacasa, TripAdvisor, and Facebook Marketplace.

Manage Bookings and Communication

Respond promptly to guest inquiries and confirm bookings. Provide check-in instructions and directions ahead of the reservation. Maintain open communication channels via phone, text, email, Airbnb messaging, etc.

Handle Taxes

As a host, you must collect and file the 7% Vanderburgh County innkeeper’s tax. Using tax management software can automate this process.Following these key steps will set you up for success operating short term rentals in the Evansville market! Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions.

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

Rental Registry & Housing Coordinator
Building Commission
1 NW Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Civic Center Complex, Room 310
Evansville, IN 47708Phone: (812) 436-7887
Business: (812) 436-7885
Fax: (812) 436-7869

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

Hosts active in the Evansville short term rental community seem largely content with the city's existing regulatory environment, according to discussion threads on Reddit and real estate forum BiggerPockets.

The overarching sentiment is that Evansville imposes fewer barriers and less red tape compared to more restrictive cities. Hosts appreciate the ease of getting started and relative flexibility to operate. As one Reddit user put it:

"Coming from Chicago where regulations make hosting impossible, Evansville is a breath of fresh air. I'm impressed with how simple the process is here."

Most hosts understand the need to register properties and collect innkeeper's tax. However, a couple BiggerPockets users cautioned that some neighborhoods have additional restrictions through homeowners associations:

"I had no problem with the city, but make sure to check the HOA rules before buying a property. Some don't allow short term rentals at all."
"Yeah a few areas ban them completely. But there are still good options if you research ahead of time."

In summary, the Evansville short term rental community seems to appreciate the lack of red tape from city regulations. Experienced hosts offer tips for navigating neighborhood HOA rules. Overall the vibe reflects positive experiences operating short term rental businesses under the current regulatory environment.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.