Are You Eligible to Host with Airbnb in Seattle?

Short-term leases are a fantastic way to maximize the profitability of your properties. 

Unlike with long-term rentals, in which the lease is for a fixed rate, a short-term rental allows owners to adjust the nightly prices. This is fantastic as it means the host is able to take advantage of holidays and festivals to increase their earnings. However, there are two large obstacles that prevent homeowners from opting to host with Airbnb:

  1. Short-term leases require a lot more work to maintain because each guest is different and will bring their own challenges and concerns. 
  2. It can be difficult to know what is required in order to become eligible to host in Seattle. 

Thankfully, there are Airbnb management companies that can take away all of the hassles for you, and the steps needed to host with Airbnb are actually quite straight forward. We have provided a brief overview of the regulatory requirements below to help you get started.

Seattle’s short-term rental regulatory requirements differ depending on whether you are seeking to list your home, second or third properties on the short-term market. However, the first 4 sections below will apply to you whatever the circumstance.

Universal Requirements for Short-Term Leasing:

All properties must adhere to the building code, which for example means respecting quiet hours, abiding by parking restrictions, and honouring any animal restrictions. Furthermore, if you are choosing to offer any culinary options to guests, you must ensure to meet all applicable state and country health regulations.

Dwelling Requirements:

The city of Seattle has established strict criteria for the homes that are eligible to be used for short-term rentals. While most dwellings in Seattle comply with the regulations, it is vital to be certain else you risk fines. One of the primary restrictions is that the property must be considered a “dwelling unit,” which means that it is not an RV, a tent, or any kind of floating residence. The dwelling must also not be the location that a company is registered as operating from.

Obtaining a Business License:

A business license takes 48 hours to process and requires some basic information in order to process. The application for a business license can be found here. The business license can be obtained online, by mail or by picking it up. The location of the government headquarters from which you can receive the license is Floor 42 of the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Ave. A business license must be renewed every year.

Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO):

If the property you are hoping to lease is not part of your primary home, then hosts are required to register with the city’s Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO). According to the Seattle Government website, “RRIO helps ensure that all rental housing in Seattle is safe and meets basic housing maintenance requirements. All rental property owners in Seattle must register their properties with the City. Inspectors will make sure all registered properties comply with minimum housing and safety standards at least once every 5 – 10 years.”

Short-Term Regulatory License:

After completing the aforementioned licenses, you are now required to obtain a short-term regulatory license. Failure to do so will result in penalties, for which the issuance is beginning December 15, 2019. These licenses are valid until December 31st of each year.

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