Denver STR license FAQ

The City and County of Denver passed new rules for home sharing in June of 2016. Denver now requires that hosts obtain a business license in order to offer a short-term rental (STR) in their primary residence.  We’ve partnered with the city to help simplify the process. Airbnb hosts can obtain their license directly from the City of Denver’s website. The following section provides answers to frequently asked questions about Denver’s registration and licensing process, and about the ordinance in general. For further details, you can check out the full ordinance here.


General questions

What is an STR license?


An STR license is the process by which a host registers their listing(s) with the city of Denver. This process can be completed entirely online.

Who needs to obtain a license?


Anyone with a property listed for short-term rental on a hosting platform like Airbnb must obtain an STR license for their primary residence. Renters must certify that they have the permission of their landlord to conduct short-term rentals.

How much does an STR license cost? 


An application fee of $25 will be assessed for individual STR license applications.

When will STR licenses be required?


STR Operators must be registered and obtain a license by December 31, 2016.

How often do I need to renew my registration?


STR licenses are offered annually, and need to be renewed every 12 months.

What is required to obtain an STR license?


STR operators must certify they meet the following requirements in order to obtain an STR license from Denver:

  • You must be a legal resident of the United States.
  • The property must be your primary residence.
  • If you do not own the property, you must obtain written documentation from the landlord or property owner allowing you to operate an STR.
  • You must possess all applicable Business Taxes licenses, including the Lodger’s Tax.
  • If your property is part of a homeowners association, you must verify that STRs are allowed in your HOA.
  • You must maintain general liability insurance to protect against property damage / bodily injury

How to I obtain my Business Lodger’s Tax License?


Hosts offering short term rentals must be licensed for Denver Lodger’s tax. The most convenient option to register for your tax license is online at Denver’s EBiz Tax Center. Applications can also be mailed or hand delivered to the Treasury Division.

What if I have questions or need assistance filling out the Lodger’s Tax License form?

The Denver Department of Treasury has created a step-by-step guide.  Please review Denver’s Short Term Rental Application Assistance Sheet.

Are there other taxes that may be associated with STR?


For complete information related to taxes, please review Denver’s Short Term Rental Taxation Information Sheet.

I set up or published my listing(s) before the new Denver ordinance was passed. Do I have to register?


Yes. All listings, including listings that existed prior to the new ordinance, must have a valid STR business license.

What happens once I’ve obtained my STR License?


Make sure you continue to comply with the ordinance and post your STR business license number clearly on your listing page and any other advertisements. You must provide a rental packet with applicable city rules and restrictions, as well as pertinent unit safety information to guests upon each booking and maintain general liability insurance to protect against property damage and bodily injury. Your STR must have an operable smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher in the unit at all times.

Where do I list my STR license number?  


Your STR Business license number must be listed on any and all online, print or other advertisements.  Your business license number is the same as the “Business File Number” on the face of your license.  You may include your short-term rental license number on your listing by going to Manage Listing > Calendar and More > Detailed Description. In the “Other Things to Note” field, type in your license number following the acceptable license format for Denver. The format is: YYYY-BFN-XXXXXXX. An example would be: 2016-BFN-000123

Ordinance-specific questions

Where can I read the full ordinance?

You can check out the full ordinance here.

The ordinance mentions “short-term rentals” – what exactly does that mean?

A short-term rental is a primary residence used for lodging accommodations to transients for a period of less than 30 consecutive days.

How do I prove that my short term rental is my primary residence?

The City of Denver has authority to request documentation of primary residency verification from STR licensees at any time. Inspectors rely on various forms that demonstrate the STR operator’s unit is their primary residence. These documents can include, but are not limited to:

  • Driver’s license
  • Voter’s registration
  • State ID card
  • Tax documents
  • Utility bills
  • Any other document proving the STR unit is a primary residence

Do STRs Require In-Person Inspections?

No. However, licensees must certify under penalty of perjury their STR has a fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, and liability insurance to cover bodily and property damage.

How many guests are allowed in a licensed STR?

STR hosts have the ability to set their own guest maximums. However, per the Denver Zoning Code (DZC), STRs are accessory to primary residential use, meaning the overall character of the property should remain residential. The DZC also explicitly states that STRs do not include rental of a dwelling unit for commercial events, such as parties or weddings. Additionally, only one rental contract may be allowed at a time in any STR. Multiple rental contracts to separate parties in an STR are prohibited.

What are the penalties for violating the ordinance?

Hosts who violate any part of the Denver ordinance may be subject to penalties, including loss of registration or license, fines, and potential follow-up from the city.

How can I learn more about STR in Denver?

Visit www.Denvergov.org/STR where you can review licensing requirements, apply for a license, report issues related to STRs and send comments or questions to city staff at [email protected]