A new online registration system for Seattle's short-term rentals is being launched in January

City of Seattle announces January launch for short-term rental registration system

US: The Department of Finance and Administrative Services in Seattle (FAS) has announced the city’s online registration system for short-term rentals will launch on 2 January 2019.

The city of Seattle brought in new short-term rental regulations in December 2017, which impacts on short-term rental operators, rental platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO and bed and breakfast operators.

From 1 January, anyone operating a short-term rental in Seattle will be required to have a short-term rental operator’s licence. The FAS will issue short-term rental regulatory licences, which will be valid for one year costing $75 per unit, and these will be separate to the compulsory Seattle business license tax certificate.

The city is coordinating with platforms on outreach and education efforts to short-term rental operators during the first 120 days of 2019 to ensure they are aware of what they need to have by the 2 January deadline.

FAS department director Calvin W. Goings, said: “Launching a new system like this can be a challenging process and we appreciate the platforms partnering with us to make this transition as smooth as possible. Our goal is to provide short-term rental operators with timely information and assistance to ensure they have what they need to be compliant with the new regulations.”

Airbnb Northwest public policy director Laura Spanjian said: “The new law allows Seattle families and the community to receive the full economic benefits of short-term rentals, creates a system for hosts to register their homes and provides the city with tools to enforce the law. Airbnb has worked closely with the city of Seattle as the new rules were developed, and we look forward to continuing this partnership as they are implemented.”

Meanwhile, Expedia Group government relations manager, Richard de Sam Lazaro, said: “Mayor Durkan and FAS staff have worked hard to develop a path forward that works for the community and short-term rental owners. This is good policy that hits the right balance in addressing the community’s needs, preserving important opportunities for vacation rental owners and allowing options for travellers.

“On behalf of the Expedia Group family of brands, including vacation rental leaders HomeAway and VRBO, we applaud the city’s approach as a model for cities across North America,” he added.

Licenced operators may operate up to two of their home units as short-term rentals, of which one must be their primary residence.

In addition, anyone operating a short-term rental that is not their primary residence will also need to register with the city’s rental registration and inspection ordinance programme.

No further city-imposed taxes on short-term rentals will be issued as a result of the updated regulations, however short-term rentals are still subject to state and local retail sales tax and local transient lodging taxes.

Anyone seeking more information about Seattle’s short-term rental regulations can visit the local government’s website at

Be in the know.

Subscribe to our newsletter »