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St. George Short-Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

St. George, Utah

Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in St. George

The city of St. George has specific regulations governing short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. These rules are outlined in Chapter 10 of the city code, which covers zoning.

Short-term rentals (defined as less than 28 days) are generally prohibited in single-family residential zones in St. George. The city only allows short-term rentals in specifically designated areas. Property owners must also obtain a business license from the city in order to operate a short-term rental.

A local contact person is required for owners outside of Washington County. This can be a friend, relative, or property manager who is available to respond to any issues.

The city's code enforcement department investigates complaints about illegal short-term rentals operating in prohibited zones. Officers can take photos of violations on public streets and sidewalks. They may still document violations visible over a fence when they need permission to enter an enclosed backyard.

Violations of the short-term rental ordinance can result in fines and legal action against the property owner. The city has taken a strict stance in an effort to preserve the character of residential neighborhoods.

However, St. George allows short-term rentals in several designated communities, primarily planned developments that include amenities like golf, pools, and clubhouses. Examples include:

  • Sports Village
  • Las Palmas
  • Inn at Entrada
  • Estancia
  • Ledges of St. George

Another exception allows short-term rentals on residential lots over 2 acres in size if the owner secures written consent from all neighbors within 300 feet, obtains a license, and meets parking requirements. However, few properties meet this criteria.

While short-term rentals can be lucrative, St. George has opted to significantly restrict where they are allowed to prevent what the city sees as negative impacts on residential areas. Owners must carefully review the zoning code and designated communities before starting an Airbnb in St. George.

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirement in St. George

The city of St. George has specific licensing requirements for short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. These rules are designed to ensure that vacation rentals are operating legally and safely within the community.

Property owners must first obtain a business license from the city to start a short-term rental business in St. George. The application process involves submitting a completed form, paying the required fee, and providing documentation such as proof of insurance and a property site plan.

In addition to the business license, short-term rentals in St. George may be subject to a health and safety check by a city building inspector. This inspection is intended to verify that the property meets all applicable building codes and safety standards. The fee for this inspection is included in the business license application fee for existing dwellings.

For properties currently under construction, the health and safety check may be waived if the dwelling follows all required building permit processes and inspections. However, the business license is still required before the property can be used as a short-term rental.

Once a short-term rental is licensed, the owner or property manager must display the license in a visible location within the rental unit. They must also provide guests with contact information for someone who can be reached 24/7 to address any issues or complaints.

It's important to note that short-term rental licenses in St. George must be renewed on an annual basis. Failure to maintain a valid license can result in fines and legal action against the property owner.

The city's licensing requirements are just one aspect of the regulations governing short-term rentals in St. George. Property owners must also comply with zoning restrictions that limit vacation rentals to specific designated areas and prohibit them in most single-family residential neighborhoods.

By obtaining the required licenses and following all applicable rules, short-term rental operators in St. George can ensure they are providing safe and legal accommodations for their guests while being good neighbors in the community. The city's business licensing department is available to assist with any questions about the process and requirements.

Required Documents for St. George Short-Term Rentals

Property owners must submit several required documents to the city when applying for a short-term rental business license in St. George, Utah. These documents help ensure that the rental property meets all applicable regulations and safety standards.

One of the key documents required is a completed business license application form. This form collects basic information about the property owner, the rental property address, and the designated local property manager, who will be available 24/7 to respond to any issues.

In addition to the application form, owners must provide proof of ownership for the short-term rental property. This can typically be demonstrated through a copy of the property deed or tax records showing the owner's name and the rental address.

Owners are also required to submit a site plan or floor plan of the rental property. This plan should clearly designate all bedrooms, fire exits, and escape routes. The city may use this information to verify that the property meets occupancy limits and safety requirements.

To comply with St. George's requirement that short-term rentals have a designated local property manager, owners must provide contact information for this individual or company. This should include their name, phone number, and email address.

Proof of liability insurance is another critical document for short-term rental license applications in St. George. Owners typically need to maintain coverage of at least $1,000,000 and provide the city a copy of their insurance declaration page.

If the short-term rental property is located within a homeowners association (HOA), the owner may need to submit additional documentation. This could include written permission from the HOA to operate a short-term rental and any specific rules or restrictions imposed by the association.

Finally, St. George requires short-term rental owners to collect and remit transient room taxes. As part of the license application, owners must register with the Utah State Tax Commission and provide their sales tax ID number to the city.

By gathering and submitting all of these required documents, short-term rental owners in St. George can demonstrate compliance with the city's regulations and obtain the necessary business license to operate legally. The city's business license department can provide additional guidance and answer any questions about the required documentation.

St. George Short-Term Rental Taxes

In addition to obtaining a business license and complying with zoning regulations, short-term rental owners in St. George, Utah, must also collect and remit various taxes on their rental income. These taxes help support local services and infrastructure.

The primary tax that applies to short-term rentals in St. George is the transient room tax (TRT). This tax is levied on accommodations rented for less than 30 consecutive days, including most Airbnb and VRBO stays.

The TRT rate in St. George is currently 12.32%. This includes a 4.25% state sales tax, a 1.0% local option sales tax, a 0.32% county tax, and a 6.75% Washington County transient room tax.

Short-term rental owners are responsible for collecting the TRT from their guests and remitting it to the Utah State Tax Commission on a monthly basis. Owners must register with the Tax Commission to obtain a sales tax ID number before they can begin collecting and remitting the tax.

Failure to comply with the TRT requirements can result in penalties and interest charges. The Tax Commission may audit short-term rental owners to ensure compliance and pursue legal action against those who fail to collect and remit the tax.

In addition to the TRT, short-term rental income is also subject to federal and state income taxes. Owners must report their rental income on their tax returns and may be able to deduct certain expenses associated with operating the rental, such as cleaning fees, supplies, and repairs.

It's important for short-term rental owners in St. George to keep accurate records of all rental income and expenses. This documentation will be essential for complying with tax requirements and maximizing any deductions.

Some short-term rental platforms, like Airbnb, may collect and remit certain taxes on behalf of owners. However, it's ultimately the owner's responsibility to ensure that all applicable taxes are being collected and paid.

Given the complexity of tax requirements for short-term rentals, many owners work with a tax professional or accountant specializing in vacation rental properties. These experts can provide guidance on compliance and help owners optimize their tax strategy.

By understanding and complying with St. George's short-term rental tax requirements, owners can avoid costly penalties and help support the local community. The Utah State Tax Commission and the city's business licensing department can provide additional information and resources on tax obligations for vacation rentals.

Utah Wide Short-Term Rental Rules

In addition to the specific regulations set by the city of St. George, short-term rental owners in Utah must also comply with various state-level rules and requirements. These statewide policies provide a framework for the operation of vacation rentals across Utah.

One key state law is the Utah Short-Term Rental Act, which was passed in 2017. This act defines a short-term rental as a residential unit that is rented for fewer than 30 consecutive days. It also establishes several statewide standards for short-term rentals.

Under the act, all short-term rental owners in Utah must obtain a business license from their local jurisdiction. This requirement applies regardless of whether the rental is operated through a platform like Airbnb or VRBO.

The act also requires short-term rental owners to maintain liability insurance coverage of at least $500,000 per occurrence. This insurance must cover injury, damage, and loss that may occur during a guest's stay.

In terms of safety requirements, the Utah Short-Term Rental Act mandates that all vacation rentals have working smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. Owners must also inform guests about emergency evacuation routes and local emergency services.

The act prohibits short-term rental owners from discriminating against guests based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Owners must comply with all applicable fair housing laws and regulations.

Another important statewide rule relates to the collecting and remittance transient room taxes. As discussed in the previous section, short-term rental owners in Utah must collect these taxes from their guests and remit them to the Utah State Tax Commission on a monthly basis.

In addition to the Short-Term Rental Act, Utah has several other laws and regulations that may apply to vacation rentals. For example, the state's building and fire codes set standards for the construction and safety of all residential properties, including those used as short-term rentals.

Utah's landlord-tenant laws also apply to short-term rentals in certain situations. These laws govern issues like security deposits, evictions, and the rights and responsibilities of owners and guests.

It's important for short-term rental owners in St. George and throughout Utah to familiarize themselves with all applicable state and local regulations. Compliance with these rules is essential for operating a legal and successful vacation rental business.

The Utah State Legislature and the Utah Short-Term Rental Alliance are good resources for staying up-to-date on statewide policies and best practices for short-term rentals. By working together with state and local officials, owners can help ensure a thriving and responsible vacation rental industry in Utah.

Does St. George Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions among short-term rental hosts on forums like Bigger Pockets and Reddit, St. George appears to actively enforce its rules prohibiting short-term rentals in most residential zones. Many hosts report receiving violation notices and fines from the city's code enforcement department for operating illegal Airbnbs.

One host on Bigger Pockets shared their experience of being "shut down" by the city after neighbors complained about their short-term rental in a single-family neighborhood. The host noted that code enforcement officers took photos of the property and guests coming and going to document the violation.

Another host on Reddit warned others not to attempt operating an Airbnb in St. George's restricted zones, stating that "the city is definitely not messing around" when it comes to short-term rental enforcement. This host mentioned that the city actively monitors Airbnb and other listing sites to identify illegal rentals.

Compared to some neighboring cities like Hurricane and Santa Clara that allow short-term rentals in residential areas with a permit, St. George has a reputation for being much stricter and less Airbnb-friendly. Hosts on Bigger Pockets and Reddit generally characterize St. George as one of the toughest cities in southern Utah for short-term rentals.

That said, some hosts admit to still operating "under the radar" in St. George despite the rules, banking on not getting caught. But the consensus on the forums is that this is a risky approach that's not worth the potential fines and legal consequences.

The city's aggressive enforcement stance has prompted some would-be hosts to purchase properties in the limited zones where short-term rentals are allowed, like the designated resort communities. However, the message is clear for those with homes in restricted residential areas: don't try to skirt the rules with an illegal Airbnb.

So, in summary, based on the experiences shared by hosts on Bigger Pockets and Reddit, St. George is definitely not an Airbnb-friendly city compared to other markets. The city strictly enforces its short-term rental ban in most areas, with active monitoring and stiff penalties for violators. While some hosts still attempt to operate illegally, it's a precarious approach that most experienced hosts advise against. Those serious about Airbnb investing in St. George should focus on the designated zones or consider neighboring cities with friendlier regulations.

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in St. George

If you're interested in starting a short-term rental business in St. George, Utah, it's important to follow the proper steps to ensure compliance with all local and state regulations. Here's a numbered list of key actions to take:

  1. Research zoning requirements: Carefully review St. George's zoning code to identify areas where short-term rentals are allowed. Avoid investing in properties located in restricted residential zones.
  2. Choose a property: Select a property that meets the city's zoning and land use requirements for short-term rentals. Consider factors like location, amenities, and potential rental income. This is where short-term rental calculators can help you out the most.
  3. Obtain a business license: Apply for a short-term rental business license with the city of St. George. Provide all required documentation, such as proof of ownership, site plan, and contact information for the local property manager.
  4. Secure insurance: Obtain liability insurance coverage of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence, as the Utah Short-Term Rental Act requires. Provide proof of insurance to the city as part of your license application.
  5. Register with tax authorities: Register your short-term rental with the Utah State Tax Commission to obtain a sales tax ID number. This is necessary for collecting and remitting transient room taxes.
  6. Prepare the property: Ensure your rental property is safe, clean, and well-maintained. Install required safety features like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers.
  7. Create a listing: Develop an attractive listing for your short-term rental on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. Include high-quality photos, detailed descriptions, and information on amenities and local attractions.
  8. Set house rules:Establish clear house rules for your rental, including occupancy limits, noise restrictions, and pet policies. Communicate these rules to guests through your listing and rental agreement.
  9. Manage bookings and guests: Respond promptly to booking inquiries and guest communications. Coordinate check-ins, check-outs, and cleaning between stays. Consider hiring a professional property management company to assist with these tasks.
  10. Comply with ongoing requirements: Maintain compliance with all city and state regulations, including renewing your business license annually, collecting and remitting taxes, and addressing any guest complaints or issues promptly.

By following these steps and staying informed about local regulations, you can launch a successful and compliant short-term rental business in St. George. It's important to note that the city's strict enforcement policies mean that operating illegally in restricted zones is not advisable.

For those willing to invest in properties in designated short-term rental areas, St. George can offer a lucrative market with strong demand from tourists and visitors. The key is to do your due diligence, obtain all necessary licenses and permits, and provide a high-quality rental experience for your guests.

If you have any questions or need assistance navigating the short-term rental regulations in St. George, don't hesitate to reach out to the city's business licensing department or consult with a local attorney specializing in vacation rental law.

Who to Contact in St. George about Short-Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

If you have questions or need guidance on short-term rental regulations and zoning requirements in St. George, Utah, there are several key city departments and officials you can contact for assistance.

The Community Development Department is responsible for administering and enforcing the city's zoning code, including the provisions related to short-term rentals. You can reach the Community Development Department at:

Community Development Department
175 East 200 North
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: (435) 627-4206
Email: planning@sgcity.org

Within the Community Development Department, the Planning Division is a good resource for questions about zoning districts, land use requirements, and the city's general plan. The Planning Division can be contacted at:

Planning Division
175 East 200 North
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: (435) 627-4206
Email: planning@sgcity.org

For questions related specifically to short-term rental business licensing, contact the city's Business Licensing Division. This division handles the application and renewal process for short-term rental licenses. You can reach the Business Licensing Division at:

Business Licensing Division
175 East 200 North
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: (435) 627-4740
Email: businesslicensing@sgcity.org

If you have concerns about a potential zoning violation or an illegally operating short-term rental, you can file a complaint with the city's Code Enforcement Division. This division investigates and enforces violations of the city's zoning and land use regulations. Contact the Code Enforcement Division at:

Code Enforcement Division
175 East 200 North
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: (435) 627-4450
Email: codeenforcement@sgcity.org

For general inquiries or to reach the City Council, you can contact the City Manager's office at:

City Manager's Office
175 East 200 North
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: (435) 627-4000
Email: citymanager@sgcity.org

In addition to these city departments, the Utah Short-Term Rental Alliance (USTRA) is a statewide organization that advocates for vacation rental owners and managers. USTRA provides educational resources, networking opportunities, and updates on legislative issues affecting the short-term rental industry in Utah. You can learn more at:

Utah Short-Term Rental Alliance
PO Box 1578
St. George, UT 84771
Phone: (435) 414-5230
Email: info@utahstra.org

By contacting these departments and organizations, you can get specific guidance on how to navigate the short-term rental regulations and zoning requirements in St. George. City staff are generally willing to assist property owners and managers in understanding and complying with the rules.

It's always best to be proactive in reaching out for guidance before investing in a short-term rental property or listing it for rent. This can help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure a smooth and successful operation of your vacation rental business in St. George.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in St. George on Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think about Local Regulations?

On forums like Reddit and Bigger Pockets, short-term rental hosts in St. George have shared their experiences and opinions about the city's regulations. Here are a few notable examples:

A user cautioned potential short-term rental owners about the city's strict zoning rules in a "Investing in St. George, UT" thread on the Bigger Pockets forum. They mentioned that the city had recently cracked down on illegal rentals and advised others to carefully research the allowed areas before purchasing a property.

A Reddit user shared their frustration with St. George's regulations in the subreddit r/AirbnbHosts. They complained that the city's ban on short-term rentals in most residential zones had forced them to sell their investment property at a loss. The user suggested that the city's policies were overly restrictive and discouraged small business owners.

In a Bigger Pockets thread called "St. George Short-Term Rental Regulations," a user provided a detailed overview of the city's rules and enforcement practices. They noted that while the regulations were strict, the city did offer some opportunities for legal short-term rentals in designated zones. The user emphasized the importance of doing thorough due diligence before investing.

A Reddit user shared a success story in the subreddit r/AirbnbHosts about operating a legal short-term rental in a St. George's approved resort community. They praised the city's clear guidelines and licensing process, which helped them avoid compliance issues. However, they acknowledged that the options for legal rentals were limited.

In a Bigger Pockets thread titled "Short-Term Rental Regulations in Southern Utah," several hosts discussed the varying rules across different cities in the region. User "RedRockInvestor" pointed out that while St. George was known for being strict, neighboring cities like Hurricane and Washington were more welcoming to short-term rentals. They suggested that hosts consider these alternative markets.

Overall, the sentiment among Airbnb hosts on Reddit and Bigger Pockets seems to be that St. George's short-term rental regulations are relatively restrictive compared to other cities in the area. Many hosts express frustration with the limited zones where rentals are allowed and the city's active enforcement efforts.

However, some hosts also acknowledge that the city's clear guidelines and licensing process can be helpful for those operating legal rentals in the approved areas. They emphasize the importance of thoroughly researching the regulations and choosing properties carefully.

While opinions vary, the general consensus seems to be that St. George presents challenges for short-term rental owners due to its strict zoning rules and enforcement practices. Hosts advise others to be cautious and diligent in navigating the local regulations to avoid costly mistakes.

These discussions provide valuable insights into the real-world experiences of short-term rental hosts in St. George. By learning from the successes and challenges of others, aspiring hosts can make more informed decisions about investing and operating in this market.

Disclaimer: While we here at BNBCalc strive to keep all of our city regulation guides updated and accurate with all the latest local laws, we still do not suggest using them as your sole or primary source for local regulations. We also do not recommend you rely on the third-party sources we link to or reference, and we are not responsible for any of the information on these third-party sites. These guides are for entertainment purposes only and only provide basic information and should not be considered as legal advice.

We highly recommend directly contacting the responsible parties for each city and hearing what their officials have to say. Ultimately, it's your responsibility as an investor to ensure you fully comply with the local laws, and it's best to speak with professionals before making an investment decision.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.