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Renting out my house per hour/night - what licensing do I need ?

Renton, WA |

I'm thinking of renting out my house on an hourly (like half day) and/or nightly/daily basis. It is in Washington State.
It is a high-end home, with a pool and spa, which I want to allow the guests to use.
I searched on-line and the only requirements I found is for me to collect tax, which I'll pay to the Department of Revenue.
Transient Accomodation license says '3 or more lodging unit', but my house is one lodging unit in itself, so I don't need TA license.

Any other legal advise ?
Thank you.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. I can't help you on the local licensing issues. But, certainly, if permitted, you will absolutely want liability insurance. A pool and spa? Transient people? You're setting yourself up for something to go very wrong and you're going to need insurance coverage in case it does.

    DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.


  2. In addition to state rules and laws, you will also want to check with the City of Renton to see if they will allow this. If you do not get the correct permits from the City they can shut you down. I agree with my colleague regarding getting a lot of liability insurance, and a corporate entity would be a good idea as well. If this property is in a neighborhood with a homeowner's association, you could encounter some resistance from that group as well. There may be a restriction preventing you from operating a business at this home.

    Elizabeth Powell

    Using Avvo does not form an attorney client relationship.


  3. Contact the Renton planning department at 425.430.6575 or 425.430.7294 and ask if your business proposal will meet local zoning code. Renton will require you to get a local business license, and in most jurisdictions businesses must comply with local zoning requirements before they can get a license.

    Also consider: (1) forming an LLC to own the property, (2) state business and employee licenses, (3) forming an entity to manage the property (LLC, non-profit) and/or will this be a private club or open public hotel/inn?


  4. Whoa. This may be high-end, but do you want your home used as the "no-tell motel?" Be careful how you do this. I assume you mean for parties and the like, but there may be large liabilities, and what about the neighbors? You'll undoubtedly need permits at the least. Check the zoning for your area, to see if such use is even allowed, if you need a variance, and talk to an attorney and your accountant before proceeding.

    This response is not to be construed as establishing an attorney-client relationship, and provides general information on the subject at hand only.


  5. Forget all the licensing stuff until after you find out iif Renton zoning permits this use in the zoning district in which you house is located.

    And a quick look at the Renton zoning ordinance tells me that you cannot establish a lodging house, hotel, or motel in any residential district. Here's how to see for yourself.

    The first thing you must do is identify the zoning district in which it sits. Go to this site, http://www.ci.renton.wa.us/business/default.aspx?id=2680 and click on the link on the right side for the zoning map (;which, of course, is not working as I write this). So you might want to call the Planning Department at 425-430-7294 to give them your address and ask which zoning district your house is in. Alternatively, use this link to ask them: http://www.ci.renton.wa.us/city_forms.aspx?ekfrm=1120&TransferError=Error+executing+child+request+for+%2fcity_forms.aspx.
    There is no need at this stage to tell them why you want to know, although if you do they can probably tell you pretty definitively that your proposed use is not allowed in any residential district.

    But you should also see for yourself. Go to http://www.codepublishing.com/wa/renton/ and click on "Title IV Development Regulations." Select Chapter 2 and then 4-2-060 for the Zoning Use Table. I think you'll see that lodging houses, hotels, motels, etc. are not allowed in any residential zoning district.

    So don't waste your time worrying about state licensing for transient accommodations because transient accommodations are not allowed in any residential zoning district in Renton. Now if you're not in a residential district, it's a whole different story.

    And you should be very much aware that your neighbors would raise holy hell if you tried to establish a transient use in your house. Just saying....

    The information provided in the question posed is not complete enough to provide accurate legal advice. More details are needed to really guide the questioner. My response is not intended to be taken as legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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