Short-Term Rentals (STR)

A dwelling unit or individual rooms within a dwelling unit that are rented to a guest(s) by a short-term rental operator for fewer than 30 consecutive days. A short-term rental is not considered a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast.

Short-term rental does not include any of the following:

1
Research and prepare for a Short-Term Rental
  • Determine if your property is located within the City limits
  • Get a Washington State Business License and City of Vancouver Business License. Both are available through the state Department of Revenue. Contact the department’s Business Licensing Service at 360-705-6741 for questions or learn more about business licenses in Vancouver.
  • Get at least $1 million in liability insurance for the short-term rental property.
  • Notify your neighbors. Mail notification letters to property owners abutting or adjacent to the short-term rental location. This includes next-door neighbors, people living across the street and those directly behind a property with a backyard or alleyway. You can get mailing labels from the Clark County GIS Map Store or a title company.
  • The notification letter must include a description of the operation, number of bedrooms to be rented to overnight guests and a phone number for the owner or operator. Make sure to get an affidavit of mailing to prove that you have notified your neighbors; it does not need to be notarized.
2
Complete a Short-Term Rental permit form

After you have the above information, you can apply for a short-term rental permit. Complete the short-term rental application and upload a scanned copy or photo of the following:

  • Washington State Business License showing both your UBI, Unified Business Identifier, and the City Endorsement
  • Liability insurance for the rental property (Per RCW $1 million or more)
  • Neighborhood notification letter
  • Affidavit of mailing to property owners abutting and adjacent to the proposed short-term rental
  • List of all addresses where the neighborhood notifications were mailed
3
Pay Fees

If your application is approved, a City planner will email you a permit number and the total fees that you owe.  Pay the fee using the City’s Inspection Scheduling Portal.

4
Approval

The City will email you a certificate to post on-site at your short-term rental. Include your City of Vancouver short-term permit number in all advertising. While not required, it is recommended that the STR certificate is posted on-site.

Helpful forms, links and information

Important notes for owners/tenants

The City of Vancouver strongly recommends that you review your lease before applying. Receiving a short-term rental permit does not override any lease agreements, homeowner’s association bylaws, covenant, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R’s), or any other agreement, law or regulations that prohibit subletting or use of your residential structure as a short-term rental.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a short-term rental?

A dwelling unit or individual rooms within a dwelling unit that are rented to a guest(s) by a short-term rental operator for fewer than 30 consecutive days. A short-term rental is not considered a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast.

Will short-term rentals worsen the shortage of affordable housing in Vancouver?

No. The adopted regulations are a direct response to this concern and are intended to strike a balance between community housing needs with individual property rights and the financial stability that additional revenue generated from STRs can provide. As another means to preserve the city’s available housing stock, these regulations cap the total number of STR permits to a maximum 870 permits or 1% of the city’s total housing stock (approximately 87,000 units). Staff will continue to monitor the impacts on the housing market and report back to City Council quarterly. 

Where are short-term rentals permitted?

Short-term rentals are permitted within a legally established dwelling unit.

How do I obtain a permit?

A short-term rental permit is required from the City of Vancouver. The permit application can be submitted online.

The submittal items include scanned copy or photo of:

  • Washington State Business License showing both your UBI, Unified Business Identifier, and the City Endorsement section
  • Liability insurance (Per RCW $1 million or more)
  • Neighbor notification letter
  • Affidavit of mailing to property owners abutting and adjacent to the proposed short-term rental
  • List of all addresses where the neighbor notification letters were mailed

Do I need to notify my neighboring property owners that I will be using my dwelling as a short-term rental?

Prior to submitting the short-term rental application to the City, the owner shall provide a courtesy notice regarding the short-term rental to all property owners abutting or adjacent to the proposed short-term rental. The notification shall include a description of the operation, number of bedrooms to be rented to overnight guests and contact information for the owner or operator by phone.

How can I prevent complaints being lodged with the City about my short-term rental?

By ensuring that the short-term rental does not generate measurable levels of dust, smoke, odor or glare or noise at the property line beyond those associated with a residential use. Additionally, by abiding by the short-term rental good neighbor policy.

What will the City do if they receive a complaint regarding a short-term rental?

The City will investigate the complaint and determine if a violation has occurred. The City will then respond based on the seriousness and severity of the violation and may use one or a combination of the enforcement mechanisms including correction notices, notice of violation and an order to revoke the permit.

How do I file a complaint regarding a short-term rental?

You can report a code violation using one of two methods:

  1. Call the automated Code Compliance hotline at 360-487-7810.
  2. Use the File a Code Compliance Concern form.
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