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

Asked over 1 year ago - 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. Brandy Ann Peeples


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  2. Elizabeth Rankin Powell

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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. Ryan Vancil Esq

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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. Dotty Elaine Lemieux

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  5. Daniel M. Lauber

    Contributor Level 8


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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, 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:
    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 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... more

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