Airbnb Rules in Washington State | Airbnb Laws, Taxes, and Regulations

Airbnb Rules in Washington State | Airbnb Laws, Taxes, and Regulations

The natural world seems larger than life in the state of Washington, with sleeping volcanoes like Mount Rainier rising above the horizon, and time seems to stand still in the lush green landscapes of the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula. The San Juan Islands and Puget Sound offer Pacific Northwest paradises to escape into, and charming cities like Leavenworth, Bellingham, and Port Angeles each offer a unique set of attractions. For the real city appeal, though, Seattle is the major cultural hub of the region, enabling many memorable day trips and weekend getaways.

Washington attracts millions of tourists each year, and those looking for true adventure can trek across the entire state via the Pacific Crest Trail, or explore the massive environments found in Washington's three acclaimed national parks.

Fun things to do and exciting places to visit are found in every direction in Washington, including the more arid eastern side of the state in cities like Spokane. One trip to Washington will never be enough, and with each visit it's easy to discover more of what makes the Evergreen State one of the best to visit in the nation.

##Should you consider an Airbnb in Washington?


Thinking of investing in Airbnb Washington State? For many years now, Airbnb rentals have been a popular lodging choice for tourists and travelers in the US and around the globe. Short-term rentals generally bring many benefits to those who operate them and their guests. Numerous Airbnb data and market reports prove this which has encouraged real estate investors (and homeowners looking for an added income) to rent out their properties on Airbnb.

##What are the Airbnb Rules in Washington State? Just like many states in the US housing market, starting up a short-term rental property in Washington State does come with some regulations.

First, Washington State defines short-term rentals as “lodging provided by an owner or operator for less than 30 consecutive days in a dwelling or residential unit for a fee.” Short-term rentals include vacation home rentals, a room in a house, condo units or apartment rentals.

In addition, a property owner is presumed to be conducting a business if he/she is:

Advertising the rental property for overnight accommodations on an online platform (Airbnb or similar OTAs) Hiring a property manager to manage the rental property rental, or Selling 3 or more short-term rentals in a year

Any owner of an Airbnb Washington State rental is required to obtain a state business license and to register with the Washington Department of Revenue. Plus, short-term rental property owners may be subject to state and local taxes.

These include business and occupation (B&O) taxes, local lodging taxes, and other city fees. Keep in mind, these regulations regarding Airbnb Washington State may differ from one city to another.

For example, an owner of an Airbnb vacation home rental in Tacoma must reside in the home if he/she is renting individual rooms or a separate unit. However, if the owner is renting out an entire home, then he/she is not required to reside there. While in Kirkland, the property owner or Airbnb host must occupy the property as a primary residence at least 245 days per year.

As you can see, vacation home rentals are allowed in many cities in the Washington State housing market. However, as Airbnb Washington State is quickly growing, those cities have set requirements simply to regulate and ensure that short-term rental properties are operated in a safe manner.

##How do Occupancy tax collection and remittance by Airbnb work in Washington State?

Washington houses

  • Guests who book Airbnb listings that are located in the State of Washington will pay the following taxes as part of their reservation:

  • Washington Combined Sales Tax: 7.0-9.6% of the listing price including any cleaning fees (plus guest fees for WA State Sales Tax) for reservations 29 nights and shorter.

  • Washington's combined sales tax is a combination of the state retail sales tax of 6.5% and the local retail sales tax, which varies by county and city. For detailed information, please visit

  • Special Hotel/Motel Tax, Convention and Trade Center Tax, Regional Transit Authority Tax, and Tourism Promotion Area Charges: All locally imposed taxes on transient lodging will be collected on reservations in Washington.

  • The Special Hotel/Motel Tax is typically 1-5% of the listing price including any cleaning fees for reservations 29 nights and shorter. Other local taxes vary and are only applicable in certain cities and counties.

###How is Seattle Different?

Guests who book Airbnb listings that are located in the city of Seattle, WA will pay the following taxes as part of their reservation:

STR Platform Fee: $1 per night for reservations 28 nights and shorter for certain listing categories. For detailed information, please visit the Seattle Short-Term Rentals website.

Hosts located in these areas are responsible for assessing all other tax obligations, including state and city jurisdictions.

Hosts with listings in these areas should also review their agreement with Airbnb under the Terms of Service and familiarize themselves with the Occupancy Tax provisions which allow Airbnb to collect and remit taxes on their behalf and explain how the process works.

Under those provisions, hosts instruct and authorize Airbnb to collect and remit Occupancy Taxes on their behalf in jurisdictions where Airbnb decides to facilitate such collection.

If a host believes applicable laws exempt the host from collecting a tax that Airbnb collects and remits on the host's behalf, the host has agreed that, by accepting the reservation, the host is waiving that exemption.

If a host does not want to waive an exemption the host believes exists, the host should not accept the reservation.

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