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Norman Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Norman, Oklahoma

What are short term rental (Airbnb, VRBO) regulations in Norman, Oklahoma?

Short term rentals (STRs), like Airbnb and VRBO, have become popular lodging options in Norman. The city officially legalized short term rentals in 2020, with some zoning restrictions outlined in the short-term rental ordinance.

Hosts must register with the city and pay relevant taxes. For example, the ordinance O-1920-56 states that operators must pay the 5% hotel/motel/transient tax and remit those taxes monthly.

The City of Norman requires an annual $50 license for each short-term rental, effective August 27, 2020. Hosts need to provide documents like a short-term rental license application, certificate of occupancy, floor plan, proof of ownership, contact information, and more.

Norman allows short term rentals in most zoning areas, except Rural Commercial, Light Industrial, Heavy Industrial and Restricted Industrial districts. Special exceptions may be required for planned unit developments (PUDs) and simple planned unit developments (SPUDs).The city does have an STR hotline to report issues and penalties exist for non-compliant hosts. However, Norman seems relatively Airbnb friendly compared to other cities. Hosts on sites like BiggerPockets and Reddit say the regulations are easy to follow if you get properly licensed.

Overall Norman formally legalized short term rentals so hosts can operate legally, not to ban them. By following the licensing, zoning, taxes and safety rules, STRs present a solid real estate investment opportunity given Norman's expanding University of Oklahoma population.

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Norman

Short term rentals (STRs), like Airbnb and VRBO, have become popular lodging options in Norman and many college towns. Norman officially legalized short term rentals in 2020 after much debate, with Ordinance O-1920-56 outlining specific zoning and licensing requirements.

The University of Oklahoma is located in Norman, so there is strong demand for short term rentals, especially on weekends and during major events. However hosts must register with the city and pay relevant taxes in order to operate legally.

Zoning laws allow STRs in most areas, with some exceptions. Special use permits or zoning exceptions may be required in certain planned unit developments (PUDs). The city planning department has an interactive map showing exactly where short term rentals are allowed.

Hosts praise Norman for creating formal legal framework to allow short term rental businesses, instead of an outright ban. One host said on reddit "Norman could have prohibited STRs altogether but decided to welcome them instead. The registration process is easy if you follow the steps."

Overall Norman provides a favorable environment for STR investors and hosts looking to capitalize on tourism and events tied to the University of Oklahoma. As long as hosts obtain the required permits, licenses, pay lodging taxes and maintain safety standards, short term rental businesses can thrive in Norman. The expanding student population and visitor count ensures consistent demand.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Norman

The City of Norman requires an annual license for each short-term rental property, effective August 27, 2020. The license costs $50 per year and needs to be renewed annually.

There are limits on the number of short-term rental licenses that one applicant can obtain. Specifically, a single applicant is allowed to hold no more than 4 active short-term rental licenses at a time. This limit is meant to prevent investors from buying up too many properties just to rent them out on Airbnb and VRBO.

The short-term rental license application requires quite a bit of documentation. Hosts need to provide:

  • Owner and local contact information
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • Proof of ownership
  • Property layout diagram showing parking, exits, etc.
  • Floor plan with fire safety information
  • Photos of the rental
  • Certification that the STR complies with city regulations
  • Proof of insurance

The city reviews the application and inspects the property in-person. Provided everything looks good, the license can be approved within 30 days typically.

With the license, hosts must register with the Oklahoma Tax Commission and collect/remit the 5% Norman lodging tax from guests. Taxes are filed on a monthly basis.

Overall, the licensing process seems fair and straightforward for hosts who want to legally operate short-term rentals in Norman. It provides oversight to ensure safety and compliance without being overly restrictive to hosts.

Required Documents for Norman Short Term Rentals

Hosts need to provide several documents to get a short-term rental license approved by the Norman Planning Department:

Short-term rental license application - This includes details on the rental property like address, zoning district, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, proposed occupancy, and parking spaces. Contact information for the owner and local responsible party is also required.

Certificate of Occupancy - The certificate of occupancy shows the dwelling is approved for residential rental use. Newer Norman homes generally have this, while older homes may need an inspection first.

Proof of ownership - Acceptable ownership documents include the property deed, current mortgage statement, or current property tax statement. This verifies the applicant is the legal owner.

Floor plan - Hosts need to provide a floor plan denoting the location and size of each bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living area. This ensures the proposed occupancy aligns with size requirements.

Certificate of compliance - The certificate shows the rental complies with building codes for things like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, safety exits, extinguishers, and electrical safety. An inspection may be needed to get this certificate initially.

Providing these key documents allows the Norman Planning Department to confirm zoning allowances, health/safety compliance, accurate tax remittance, and effective enforcement if issues arise. The ordinance aims to enable short term rental businesses responsibly through proper licensing.

Norman Short Term Rental Taxes

Operators of short term rentals in Norman must pay several applicable taxes, which are then remitted to the city government on a monthly basis.

The primary tax is the hotel/motel/transient tax of 5% on all short term rental revenue, as mandated in Ordinance O-1920-56. This is the same tax that hotels and other lodging establishments pay on room rental income.

Additionally, short term rental hosts must collect and pay sales tax of 8.5% on the rental rate paid by guests. Norman has a base sales tax rate of 4.5%, plus the following add-ons:

  • Cleveland County sales tax: 1.375%
  • Norman sales tax: 2%
  • Public safety sales tax: 0.125%

There are no exceptions or exemptions to these taxes for short term rental operators. All revenue from booked nights is subject to both the 5% hotel tax and 8.5% sales tax, which must be collected from guests and paid monthly to the city.

The taxes are due on the 15th day of each month for the previous month's bookings and revenue. For example, taxes for January short term rental income must be remitted by February 15th. Late payments or failure to pay incurs penalties and interest.

Oklahoma Wide Short Term Rental Rules

Oklahoma does not have statewide regulations that specifically target short term rentals. The state legislature has not passed any overarching laws addressing Airbnbs and other vacation rentals.

Instead, STR policy is handled at the city and county levels across Oklahoma. Local municipalities can choose to implement their own ordinances and restrictions if they want to regulate short term housing rentals.

For example, Oklahoma City requires special licensing and zoning exceptions for STRs operating in certain districts. Tulsa laws mandate registration, taxes, safety standards and occupancy limits on Airbnbs. Norman legalized short term rentals in 2020 with an annual licensing system.

So in summary, Oklahoma STR rules can vary widely based on the specific city and county. Some places like Norman have a relatively open regulatory regime. Other cities like Oklahoma City have tighter restrictions through special permitting processes. Investors should analyze local ordinances before buying a short term rental property.

Absent formal statewide policy, most Oklahoma jurisdictions allow non-owner occupied Airbnb rentals. However, hosts still need to comply with local taxes, registrations, zoning codes, safety rules, and occupancy limits. Researching the precise STR regulations is crucial before operating in a given Oklahoma area.

Does Norman Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Norman seems relatively Airbnb friendly. The city passed an ordinance to properly regulate short term rentals, not ban them. Hosts can operate legally by following the licensing and tax rules. Norman does have an STR hotline to report issues. Fines and penalties exist for non-compliant hosts.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Norman?

Here are the key steps hosts should follow:

  • Check zoning laws and get proper permits/exceptions
  • Obtain the annual STR license
  • Register with the Oklahoma Tax Commission
  • Set up a business entity like an LLC
  • Furnish and prepare the rental property
  • List on sites like Airbnb and VRBO
  • Collect lodging taxes from guests
  • File and pay monthly transient taxes

Who to Contact About Norman Short Term Rental Regulations

Contact the Norman Planning Department at 405-366-5466 or the City Attorney's Office at 405-366-5423 regarding short term rental zoning, restrictions, permitting, and legal issues.

What Norman Hosts on BiggerPockets and Reddit Say

Norman hosts on sites like BiggerPockets and Reddit generally find the regulations easy to follow. Some hosts felt the $300 fee previously proposed was excessive, but the final $50 annual fee seems reasonable.

Most comply with licensing and taxes without issue. Some hosts share tips on maximizing occupancy and rental rates. Overall the Norman market has potential, with an expanding University of Oklahoma student population.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.