How to Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy for a Short-Term Rental

If you're looking to start a short-term rental business, one of the first things you'll need to do is obtain a certificate of occupancy. This document proves that your property is safe and meets all the necessary building codes.

In this blog post, we will walk you through the process of obtaining a certificate of occupancy for your short-term rental property. We'll provide a certificate of occupancy checklist of everything you'll need to submit and tips on how to make the process smoother. Let's get started!

Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for short-term rental hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on all major channels. Start your free trial today! 

What is a Certificate of occupancy for Short-Term Rentals?

A certificate of occupancy, also known as a CO, is a document that proves your property meets all the necessary building code requirements. This certificate is required in order to operate a short-term rental business. It's important to note that each state has different requirements for obtaining a certificate of occupancy.

Why Do I Need a Certificate of Occupancy?

There are several reasons why you need a certificate of occupancy for your short-term rental property. First and foremost, it ensures that your property is safe for guests.

Additionally, it allows you to operate your business and rent out your space legally. Finally, many insurance companies will require you to have a certificate of occupancy in order to provide coverage for your business.

When Do I Need a Certificate of Occupancy?

Changing a property from a private home to a short-term rental

You will need to obtain a certificate of occupancy prior to listing your property on a short-term rental platform, such as Airbnb, Booking.com, or Vrbo. Additionally, many cities require you to have a certificate of occupancy in order to obtain a business license.

Building a new property or making renovations to an existing one

If you're building a new property or making significant renovations, you'll need to obtain a certificate of occupancy before guests arrive.

How Do I Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy?

The process for obtaining a certificate of occupancy will vary depending on your state and local regulations. However, there are some general steps that you'll need to follow.

First, you'll need to submit an application to your local building department. This application will likely include a fee.

Once your application has been received, an inspector will schedule a time to visit your property. The inspector will ensure that your property meets all the necessary building code requirements.

If everything is up to code, you'll be issued a certificate of occupancy.

What do I need to include in my application?

When you're completing your application for a certificate of occupancy, there are several things you'll need to include:

  1. You must provide proof that your property has been inspected by a licensed professional.
  2. You'll need to include a floor plan for your rental unit.
  3. You'll have to submit any additional documentation that may be required by your state or local regulations.

Tips for Making the Process Smoother

There are a few things you can do to make the process of obtaining a certificate of occupancy for your short-term rental property go smoothly:

  1. Be sure to complete your application in full and include all the required documentation.
  2. It's always a good idea to schedule an inspection well in advance so that you have plenty of time to make any necessary repairs.
  3. If you have any questions about the process, ask your local building department for guidance.

What Happens If I Don't Get a Certificate of Occupancy?

If you don't obtain a certificate of occupancy for your short-term rental property, you could face a number of penalties:

  1. You could be fined by your local building department.
  2. You may be required to stop operating your business until you obtain the necessary certificate.
  3. If guests are injured while staying at your rental property, you may be held liable if it's determined that your property was not up to code.

Certificate of Occupancy Checklist:

  • Complete an application for a certificate of occupancy
  • Proof that your property has been inspected by a licensed professional
  • - Floor plan of the rental unit
  • The deed
  • Any additional documentation required by state or local regulations
  • Fee for application submission (varies by state)
  • Schedule an inspection in advance to allow time for repairs (if necessary)
  • Ask your local building department for guidance if needed.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, obtaining a certificate of occupancy for your short-term rental property is necessary to operate your business legally. The process will vary depending on your state and local regulations, but there are some general steps you'll need to follow.

Be sure to complete your application in full and include all the required documentation. Additionally, it's always a good idea to schedule an inspection well in advance so that you have plenty of time to make any necessary repairs. If you have any questions about the process, be sure to ask your local building department for guidance. 

Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for short-term rental hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on all major channels. Start your free trial today! 

Leave reply