Anyone renting out a residential dwelling unit (examples: home, apartment, condo) or a portion of a residential dwelling unit (examples: bedroom, basement, cottage) in Colorado Springs must apply for a short term rental permit if the following criteria are met.
- The unit or partial unit is rented for less than thirty days at a time.
- The unit or partial unit is NOT owned by the federal government, the state, or the City of Colorado Springs, or any of their agencies, or facilities licensed by the state as health care facilities.
How to apply
- Complete the application and self-inspection checklist.
- Apply for a city sales tax license. (If you are hosting your sort term rental ONLY on AirBnB, you do not have to apply for a City sales tax license. AirBnB collects sales tax and the lodging and rental tax on behalf of the City of Colorado Springs.)
- Ensure that your property is covered with at least $500,000 in liability insurance (some hosting platforms provide insurance for you, others do not.)
- Email the completed application, self-inspection checklist, proof of sales tax and proof of insurance to ShortTermRentals@coloradosprings.gov.
- Call (719) 385-5905 to pay the $119 permit fee.
Once you are issued a short term rental permit number you will need to display the short term rental application, self-inspection checklist as well as the Good Neighbor Guidelines (with the permit number, valid through date, and local emergency contact) in a prominent location within your short term rental unit. You may black out contact information you do not want renters to see, such as your primary address and email. Please keep the local emergency contact information (Name and Phone Number) available to renters. This paperwork displayed together will act as your permit.
Applications that are received via email require a 3 day processing period. You can also visit the Land Use Review office at 30 S Nevada Suite 105 Colorado Springs, CO 80903 between the hours of 8 a.m.-Noon for same-day processing of your application. Applications received after Noon will require three days to process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are short term rentals allowed?
Short term rentals are allowed in lawful dwelling units (i.e. you cannot rent out a tuff shed, tent, etc.) in zones where residential units are allowed (A, R, R-1 9000, R-1 6000, R-2, R-4, R-5, SU, PUD, OR, OC, PBC, C-5, C-6 and M-1). To find the zoning of your property visit this link.
What areas of town have active short term rental permits?
All of the issued Short Term Rental (STR) permits are shown in the map links provided below. Each permit location is represented by a dot. In areas with fewer STR permits, the buffer areas are shown in green, and in areas with a higher concentration of STR permits, those areas are shown in red. This information will be updated monthly.
How many short term rentals can I have?
- If you are in an R-1 you can have one listing for your property; this can be your whole house, or just one room/section of your house.
- If you are in an R-2 you can have two listings for your property; this means you can have one listing for your main house and a different listing for a cottage in the backyard.
- Up to 4 listings are allowed on properties that are zoned for multi-family (ie a property that would allow for an apartment).
- In the case of a condominium complex (or similar common ownership), each owner is allowed to operate a maximum of 2 short term rentals within the complex.
There is no limit to the number of short term rentals residents of Colorado Springs can operate (with the exception of condominium properties). There is also not a cap on the number of short term rentals that the City will allow to operate.
Each listing requires a separate permit application and fee.
How much does a permit cost?
A short term rental permit costs $119 annually. This does not include fees associated with your sales tax license.
How long is a permit valid?
Short term rental permits are valid for one year.
What paperwork do I need to post in my short term rental unit?
Your application, self-inspection checklist, and good neighbor guidelines with filled out local emergency contact, city-issued permit number, and valid-through date will act as your permit. This information needs to be prominently displayed within the unit. You may black out contact information you do not want renters to see such as your primary address and email. Please keep the local emergency contact information (name and phone number) available to renters.
What if I rent my house for only a few days or weeks out of the year? Do I still need a permit?
Yes, you would still have to have a permit. The intent of the permit is to:
- establish a community standard for the integration of short term rental units within existing neighborhoods while maintaining neighborhood and community character;
- to ensure health and safety of visitors and residents by re-affirming police, fire, and building safety guidelines for transient lodgers who may not be familiar with local laws;
- and to ensure that short term rental owners are paying LART tax similar to other transient lodging including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts.
No matter the length of time, tenants, owners, and neighborhoods all deserve to be informed and held to the same standard.
What can I do if I think my neighbor is operating a short term rental without a permit?
First, check the city map on Springs View to see if a permit exists for the property. Click "show layer list" and ensure that "Short Term Rentals" is checked under "Planning-Administration." Enter the property address in the search bar. If a permit does not show up, please contact the City's Neighborhood Services Division (Code Enforcement) or submit a report online.
I’m a neighbor of a short term rental and there is an issue with renters, what do I do?
If there is an emergency, please call 911.
If there is a non-life threatening issue, including loud parties, please call the police non-emergency line at 719-444-7000.
Emergency contact information for the short term rental can be viewed at Springs View. Click "Show Layer List" and ensure that "Short Term Rentals" is checked under "Planning-Administration." Enter the property address in the search bar. If a Short Term Rental permit has been issued, the name and phone number of the property's emergency contact will come up. This information has been provided by the owner as someone that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and able to respond to the non-life threatening emergency within one hour.
Are short term rentals a commercial use?
The City of Colorado Springs takes a stance affirmed by research materials provided by the American Planning Association that indicate that short term rentals are a hybrid use and it is important to recognize the need for finding a compatible balance for limited commercial use in residential areas, similar to the allowance for home occupations. Case law related to short term vacation rentals have varied in verdicts. Several examples from the Colorado Court of Appeals have stated that short term rentals are a commercial use, while case law from Colorado, Washington, Kentucky, and Wisconsin have affirmed that an HOA cannot prohibit short term rental under commercial use prohibitions within covenants.
- They must be operated out of lawful dwelling units
- If your advertising your short term rental on websites other than AirBnB you will need to obtain a City Sales Tax License (AirBnB collects sales tax on the City’s behalf)
- You must maintain weekly residential trash collection services.
- You will need to provide proof of liability insurance in the amount of not less than $500,000.
- Properties must remain compliant with all planning, zoning, building, and other City codes.
- All short term rentals shall abide by all applicable noise, housing, and public health ordinances of the City and with all other City fire and safety ordinances.
- Parking in private driveways shall be utilized first with overflow parking on the street where permitted.
- You cannot host weddings or large social/commercial events at a short term rental
- Short term rentals are required to have a 24-hour point of contact on file with the Planning Department who can respond within 1 hour in the case of an emergency.
- Your short term rental permit is valid for 1 year.
Is there any national research information available on short term rentals?
Yes. The American Planning Association, through their Planning Advisory Service (PAS), has provided research information regarding short term rentals. Some of the documents Staff used as research when creating the Short Term Rental ordinance are available below.
Why do we need regulations?
- To establish a community standard for the integration of short term rental units within existing neighborhoods while maintaining neighborhood and community character.
- To ensure health and safety of visitors and residents by re-affirming police, fire, and building safety guidelines for transient lodgers who may not be familiar with local laws.
- To ensure that short term rental owners are paying LART tax similar to other transient lodging including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts.
Questions about the Short Term Rental Ordinance can be sent to the Planning Department Permit and Program Coordinator, Morgan Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org