Short-Term Rentals in Vancouver

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
A key on a house-shaped keychain sits in a door lock

Share your ideas, questions and comments below.

A short-term rental (STR) is when you rent your entire home, a room within your home, a separate guesthouse or Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to individuals for less than 30 days. This includes rentals available on sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Currently, the City’s Land Use and Development Code, VMC Chapter 20, does not allow short-term rentals in residential zones.

The City is aware that there are roughly 250-350 short-term rentals operating in Vancouver. In February 2022, the City began reaching out to owners of known short-term rentals to advise them of the City's current laws. City of Vancouver staff are also conducting extensive public outreach to better understand community attitudes and experiences with short-term rentals.

Where we are in the process

City staff provided the City Council with an overview of the current STR market, as part of the September 9, 2021, Housing Code Workshop. Council then advised staff to continue to monitor the situation and provide an update within a year. Staff presented to Council on June 27, 2022, after conducting regulation research, community outreach, and data gathering. A recording of the meeting is available on CVTV.org.

City staff presented at a Planning Commission workshop on September 13, 2022. Meeting materials and details can be found on this page prior to the meeting. *Note* Commissioners did not be vote on a short-term rental resolution at this meeting.

Next steps

Frequently Asked Questions

  • A short-term rental is when you rent your entire home, a room within your home, or a separate guesthouse/Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to individuals for less than 30 days. This includes rentals available on sites such as Airbnb and VRBO. Short-term rentals (STRs) are sometimes referred to as “Home Sharing,” and are very popular with travelers. They are viewed as a way for visitors to temporarily feel part of a local neighborhood rather than staying in a hotel or motel situated in a commercial area.
  • According to RCW 64.37.010(9)(a), a "short-term rental" means a lodging use, that is not a hotel or motel or bed and breakfast, in which a dwelling unit, or portion thereof, that is offered or provided to a guest by a short-term rental operator for a fee for fewer than thirty consecutive nights.
  • In short, Vancouver currently does not have any regulations regarding short-term rentals, other than commercial lodging. In order for a use to be allowed, the City’s Land Use and Development Code must specifically list the use as allowed in the applicable zoning district.
  • However, short-term rentals may be approved as a Bed and Breakfast use, which are allowed in residential and commercial zones, subject to certain approvals and limitations.
  • If a short-term rental is not registered and approved as a Bed and Breakfast, the rental not allowed and would be operating in violation of City code.
  • A bed and breakfasts provide an alternative form of lodging for visitors who prefer a residential setting. The City’s Development Code considers bed and breakfast establishments as Commercial and Transient Lodging.
  • The individual or family which operates the bed and breakfast must live at the house and be their primary residence. The house must have been used as a residence for at least a total of five years prior to filing the application for a bed-and- breakfast establishment.
  • A 1-2 bedroom bed-and-breakfast-establishment is allowed as a limited use in the lower density residential districts and a 3-6 bedroom bed and breakfast establishment is allowed with a conditional use permit in lower density residential districts.
  • For more information on bed and breakfast regulations, view Ch. 20.830 in the Vancouver Municipal Code
  • Short-term rentals must meet the requirements of a Bed and Breakfast and be approved as one to legally operate within city limits. After reviewing data for Vancouver, the project team believes that most existing short-term rentals do not meet this requirement.
  • City staff are gathering data from advertised short-term rentals, best practice examples, and research from other jurisdictions to inform potential future changes to City regulation of short-term rentals.
  • In addition, a community outreach effort is underway to gather public input on potential changes to City regulation of short-term rentals. You will also be able to share your feedback, by completing a communitywide survey that will soon be added to this page.
  • There are currently no City-specific fees as there is no official allowance or registration process for this type of business. The City is in the process of exploring regulation measures that may require a registration or business license fee.
  • By state law RCW 64.37, short-term rentals must register with the state and maintain liability insurance.
  • Short-term rentals or their platforms must also remit applicable local, state and federal taxes. These include occupancy, sales, lodging or other taxes which other forms of lodging are subject to.

To report suspected short-term rentals, you may call the City’s Code Compliance Hotline at 360-487-7810 or file an online Code Compliance Complaint

  • To report suspected short-term rentals, you may call the City’s Code Compliance Hotline at 360-487-7810 or file an online Code Compliance Complaint
  • If there are any time-sensitive concerning behavioral activity, you may contact Vancouver Police by calling 911 (be sure to specify if it is a non-emergency).
  • Short-term rentals represent an extremely small percentage of Vancouver's estimated 83,868 housing units, as calculated by the Washington State Office of Financial Management in April 2021. Based on currently available numbers, roughly 0.003% of housing units in the city are being used as short-term rentals.
  • For several years, Vancouver has experienced a shortage of affordable housing and an overall lack of supply of housing at all price points to accommodate population growth within the city. Several steps have been taken to address these issues, including a voter-approved Affordable Housing Fund to support the development of more affordable units, and changes to City codes to allow for different, smaller, and more affordable housing types.
  • Often community members have concerns about the affordability impacts of short-term rentals, because rental units dedicated for vacation purposes are not available for longer term residences. The issue of access to long-term housing options is a critical piece of the work underway to understand the impact of short-term rentals and if and how regulations should be updated to allow them beyond the current Bed and Breakfast provisions.


Share your ideas, questions and comments below.

A short-term rental (STR) is when you rent your entire home, a room within your home, a separate guesthouse or Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to individuals for less than 30 days. This includes rentals available on sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Currently, the City’s Land Use and Development Code, VMC Chapter 20, does not allow short-term rentals in residential zones.

The City is aware that there are roughly 250-350 short-term rentals operating in Vancouver. In February 2022, the City began reaching out to owners of known short-term rentals to advise them of the City's current laws. City of Vancouver staff are also conducting extensive public outreach to better understand community attitudes and experiences with short-term rentals.

Where we are in the process

City staff provided the City Council with an overview of the current STR market, as part of the September 9, 2021, Housing Code Workshop. Council then advised staff to continue to monitor the situation and provide an update within a year. Staff presented to Council on June 27, 2022, after conducting regulation research, community outreach, and data gathering. A recording of the meeting is available on CVTV.org.

City staff presented at a Planning Commission workshop on September 13, 2022. Meeting materials and details can be found on this page prior to the meeting. *Note* Commissioners did not be vote on a short-term rental resolution at this meeting.

Next steps

Frequently Asked Questions

  • A short-term rental is when you rent your entire home, a room within your home, or a separate guesthouse/Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to individuals for less than 30 days. This includes rentals available on sites such as Airbnb and VRBO. Short-term rentals (STRs) are sometimes referred to as “Home Sharing,” and are very popular with travelers. They are viewed as a way for visitors to temporarily feel part of a local neighborhood rather than staying in a hotel or motel situated in a commercial area.
  • According to RCW 64.37.010(9)(a), a "short-term rental" means a lodging use, that is not a hotel or motel or bed and breakfast, in which a dwelling unit, or portion thereof, that is offered or provided to a guest by a short-term rental operator for a fee for fewer than thirty consecutive nights.
  • In short, Vancouver currently does not have any regulations regarding short-term rentals, other than commercial lodging. In order for a use to be allowed, the City’s Land Use and Development Code must specifically list the use as allowed in the applicable zoning district.
  • However, short-term rentals may be approved as a Bed and Breakfast use, which are allowed in residential and commercial zones, subject to certain approvals and limitations.
  • If a short-term rental is not registered and approved as a Bed and Breakfast, the rental not allowed and would be operating in violation of City code.
  • A bed and breakfasts provide an alternative form of lodging for visitors who prefer a residential setting. The City’s Development Code considers bed and breakfast establishments as Commercial and Transient Lodging.
  • The individual or family which operates the bed and breakfast must live at the house and be their primary residence. The house must have been used as a residence for at least a total of five years prior to filing the application for a bed-and- breakfast establishment.
  • A 1-2 bedroom bed-and-breakfast-establishment is allowed as a limited use in the lower density residential districts and a 3-6 bedroom bed and breakfast establishment is allowed with a conditional use permit in lower density residential districts.
  • For more information on bed and breakfast regulations, view Ch. 20.830 in the Vancouver Municipal Code
  • Short-term rentals must meet the requirements of a Bed and Breakfast and be approved as one to legally operate within city limits. After reviewing data for Vancouver, the project team believes that most existing short-term rentals do not meet this requirement.
  • City staff are gathering data from advertised short-term rentals, best practice examples, and research from other jurisdictions to inform potential future changes to City regulation of short-term rentals.
  • In addition, a community outreach effort is underway to gather public input on potential changes to City regulation of short-term rentals. You will also be able to share your feedback, by completing a communitywide survey that will soon be added to this page.
  • There are currently no City-specific fees as there is no official allowance or registration process for this type of business. The City is in the process of exploring regulation measures that may require a registration or business license fee.
  • By state law RCW 64.37, short-term rentals must register with the state and maintain liability insurance.
  • Short-term rentals or their platforms must also remit applicable local, state and federal taxes. These include occupancy, sales, lodging or other taxes which other forms of lodging are subject to.

To report suspected short-term rentals, you may call the City’s Code Compliance Hotline at 360-487-7810 or file an online Code Compliance Complaint

  • To report suspected short-term rentals, you may call the City’s Code Compliance Hotline at 360-487-7810 or file an online Code Compliance Complaint
  • If there are any time-sensitive concerning behavioral activity, you may contact Vancouver Police by calling 911 (be sure to specify if it is a non-emergency).
  • Short-term rentals represent an extremely small percentage of Vancouver's estimated 83,868 housing units, as calculated by the Washington State Office of Financial Management in April 2021. Based on currently available numbers, roughly 0.003% of housing units in the city are being used as short-term rentals.
  • For several years, Vancouver has experienced a shortage of affordable housing and an overall lack of supply of housing at all price points to accommodate population growth within the city. Several steps have been taken to address these issues, including a voter-approved Affordable Housing Fund to support the development of more affordable units, and changes to City codes to allow for different, smaller, and more affordable housing types.
  • Often community members have concerns about the affordability impacts of short-term rentals, because rental units dedicated for vacation purposes are not available for longer term residences. The issue of access to long-term housing options is a critical piece of the work underway to understand the impact of short-term rentals and if and how regulations should be updated to allow them beyond the current Bed and Breakfast provisions.


Page last updated: 24 Oct 2022, 12:51 PM