Short Term Rental Regulations and Permitting

For 2024 updates and revisions to our STR ordinance, we welcome your input on the Clear Creek County Forum: Join the discussion here

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WHAT IS A STR?  A short-term rental is the nightly or weekly rentals of residential units, or parts of residential units including, but not limited to; single family dwellings, duplexes, multi-family dwellings, townhomes, condominiums, mobile homes, or similar dwellings listed for rent, oftentimes on various hosting sites including VRBO, Airbnb, Craigslist, Homeaway, Flipkey, etc.  Temporary structures or camping structures like yurts, tents, tent type structures including geodesic domes or RVs cannot be used as short term rentals.

Please read The Short Term Rental Regulations (PDF) here.  These Regulations are intended to assure that short-term rentals meet minimum health and safety guidelines, and minimize impacts to residential neighbors.

Complaints and Enforcement: If you feel that a residence is in violation of STR Regulations, you may file a complaint here with Code Enforcement and we will investigate the use of the property and infractions.

Clear Creek County rigorously enforces regulations against unauthorized short-term rentals. If you suspect a property of operating without a permit, we urge you to immediately contact Planning Code Enforcement at (303) 679-2430 or email Code Enforcement. We treat these matters with the highest level of seriousness to maintain the integrity and safety of our community.

Curious if a property is permitted as a STR? Find out here: Clear Creek County STR and Housing Demographics  - Interactive Map

AS OF JANUARY 2024, ALL 162 ABSENTEE / NON-PRIMARY RESIDENT SHORT-TERM RENTAL (STR) PERMITS HAVE BEEN ISSUED FOR 2024.

4.5% Cap:  No more than 4.5% of the total number of residences in unincorporated Clear Creek County, in any given year, may receive a 'Non-Primary' Resident STR Permit.  With a total count of 3598 residential units, this means 162 Permits are available for issuance for the 2024 year; one more than in 2023.

If you are applying for a STR Permit for your Primary Residence, the Permit is exempt from the cap.  When you apply for a 'Primary Residence' Permit, you will be asked to submit two pieces of evidence that prove primary residency; 1) a driver's license OR Colorado state identification card with primary residence printed, AND 2) voter registration, motor vehicle registration or designated residence for tax purposes (found on your federal tax return) with primary address annotated.  A STR permit for a Primary Residence is good for two (2) years instead of one.

HOW TO GET ON THE WAITING LIST To apply for a spot on the Absentee / Non-Primary Resident waitlist, please contact the Short-Term Rental Manager at (303) 679-2430. Applicants must complete necessary application forms, submit the $500 application fee, and pass a Life Safety Inspection to be considered for the waitlist. Please note that placement on the waitlist does not guarantee the issuance of a permit.

Non-Primary Resident STR Waitlist
Current Waitlist Count: 11




Apply for, or renew your Short-Term Rental Permit on the STR PERMITTING WEBSITE here.

Permit Fees:  $500 for a permit.  A new Non-Primary Resident Permit must be obtained each calendar year (Primary Resident permits are good for two (2) years).  A Permit is only good for the calendar year it is issued.  A permit is required for each separate STR unit that is advertised.

Building Safety:  As part of your Short-Term Rental Application, you are required to certify that certain Building Safety elements are in place.  See the list HERE.  The Chief Building Official may require an inspection to verify these safety items.  If one is required, an Inspection fee of $100.00 will be charged per inspection.

Sales and Lodging Tax Collection: Short-term rental owners are required to collect Lodging and Sales Tax from their guests and remit payment to the Colorado Department of Revenue. See Tax Information for Short Term Rentals

Evidence of Legal Water Supply and Sewage Treatment Required: Evidence of a legal water supply and sewage disposal method is required as part of your permit application.  If the residence uses a well and/or septic system, evidence may come in the form of the current well permit and onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) Permit for the property.  If an unsuitable or undocumented OWTS is being used, additional upgrading or replacement of the OWTS may be required to bring it into compliance with environmental health codes.

If an unsuitable or undocumented water supply is being used, additional steps may be required to come into compliance with the requirements of the Colorado Division of Water Resources.  Auxiliary Living Spaces (accessory dwelling units) cannot be rented per Guideline 2016-1.

For additional information concerning the regulations:
The Clear Creek County Planning Department 
Phone: (303) 679-2430
Email the Planning Department

FAQs on Short-Term Rentals in Clear Creek County

  1. What is the difference between a Primary Resident and Absentee/Non-Primary Resident STR Permit?
    • A Primary Resident STR Permit is for properties that are the owner's primary residence. An Absentee/Non-Primary Resident STR Permit is for properties that are not the owner’s primary residence.
  2. Can I switch from a Primary Resident STR Permit to an Absentee/Non-Primary Resident STR Permit?
    • Yes, you can switch, but you must first apply for an Absentee/Non-Primary Resident STR Permit and be placed on a waitlist. The transition is not automatic, and availability is subject to the permit cap for absentee STRs.
  3. How does the STR permit waitlist work?
    • If there are no available STR permits, applicants are placed on a waitlist. This waitlist is used to allocate permits as they become available. Being on the waitlist does not guarantee a permit for the current year but improves chances for the following year.
  4. What are the requirements for a Life Safety Inspection?
    • The Life Safety Inspection checks for compliance with safety codes, including the presence of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, condition of decks, egress windows, doors, fire extinguishers, and more. A re-inspection is required if the initial inspection fails.
  5. What are the consequences of operating an STR without a permit or with an expired permit?
    • Operating an STR without a valid permit, or with an expired permit, is a violation of the Clear Creek County Zoning Regulations. Violators may face legal actions, including fines and potential revocation of the permit.
  6. What should I do if I have a shared driveway and want to operate an STR?
  7. Can I rent out my property for events like weddings?
    • Renting out your property for events such as weddings or "micro" events is generally not permitted in a residentially zoned STR.
  8. How can I update my contact information or details of my STR permit?
    • To update your contact information or any details related to your STR permit, please contact the Clear Creek County Planning Department.