Community Development

Short-Term Rentals

Short-Term Rentals


News and Updates

NEW! How long does a short-term rental operating under a provisional permit in Chelan County have to come into compliance? This is a question that Community Development is re-addressing with short-term rental operators. The department has put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help clarify the issue.

NEW! Reminder: The owner or operator must include the Chelan County land use permit number for the short-term rental in all advertisements and ensure its prominent display on platforms and other forums for rental (AirBnB, VRBO, Craigslist, poster, etc.) and on marketing materials such as brochures and websites.

County actively pursuing illegal STR operations: With a fully staffed Code Enforcement Unit and the review of all provisional permits now complete, Community Development advises short-term rental owners that the county is actively pursuing unpermitted operations. Read the full press release here.

Send in your signed permit: While we have reviewed all provisional and Tier 1 permits, many short-term rental operators have not signed the permits issued to them. Your permit is not complete until you have signed it and returned it to us. Check your junk mail folders and get those signed permits back to us so the permit is on file and valid.

Fire & Life Safety Inspection: The Chelan County Fire Marshal’s Office is conducting inspections of STRs. Owners or managers will be contacted by FMO staff to schedule an inspection, so do not call the office to schedule an inspection unless you are returning a call from us. Inspections are being grouped together in areas for efficiency. The inspection documentation is required for 2023 renewals, so all inspections will be completed by October 2022, prior to the renewal deadline. Please assist us in helping you pass your inspection by ensuring that all requirements are met at the time of your inspection. Remember, if you fail your fire inspection, you cannot rent until you are compliant.


Frequently Asked Questions

This section is for general information only. Please refer directly to the code for guidance. There you will find details specific to your own unique situation.

The current moratorium will stay in existence until Sept. 26, 2021.

Current non-conforming short-term rental applications will be accepted between Sept. 27 and Dec. 31, 2021.

New compliant short-term rental applications may be submitted beginning Dec. 1, 2021 through July 29, 2022.

Tier 1: Owner-occupied, short-term rentals where either (a) rooms are rented and the owner is personally present at the dwelling during the rental period, or (b) the short-term rental is located within the same parcel as the owner’s principal residence and the owner is personally present at the dwelling during the rental period, or (c) the entire dwelling is rented no more than 15 total days in a calendar year, provided that an on-site qualified person is there during the owner’s absence. Portions of calendar days are counted as full days.

Tier 2: Short-term rentals at a dwelling that is not owner-occupied with a maximum occupancy of 12 people, which includes children.

Tier 3: Short-term rentals that may be either not-owner occupied or owner-occupied, and have a maximum occupancy of 16, which includes children. No short-term rental may operate as a Tier 3 short-term rental without meeting all Tier 3 provisions. Read more in the new code.



To be considered as an existing non-conforming short-term rental, the applicant must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. The owner must be able to prove the location was physically used for short-term rental purposes July 28, 2019- August 25, 2020 and have proof of the rental listing and income generated from the rental.
  2. The owner must have fully paid sales and lodging taxes required under RCW 64.37 for the period of rental use between July 28, 2019, and August 25, 2020.
  3. The short-term rental must immediately meet all requirements, with an exception provided that all legally required health and safety provisions including, garbage, consumer safety, fire safety and outdoor burning, and Property Management Plan communications provisions are met within 90 days of Sept. 27, 2021 and requirements for parking and signs are met within 1 year of Sept. 27, 2021. The exception is in the Manson Urban Growth Area, where all provisions consistent with section 11.23.040 as it existed on August 25, 2020 shall be met on Sept. 27, 2021.
  4. The short-term rental operator has obtained the required land use permits within the time requirements.
  5. Liability insurance shall be obtained as of Sept. 27, 2021.
  6. If located inside of the Manson Urban Growth Area, the short-term rental must have documentary evidence that it was properly registered as a vacation rental with Chelan County as of August 25, 2020, or that the short-term rental owner held a vacation rental permit in the Manson UGA as of July 28, 2019, or in 2020 prior to August 25, 2020. Failure to accurately represent and disclose a property’s short-term rental history is grounds for immediate permit denial or revocation, and loss of all existing non-conforming status.
  7. Any property owner claiming existing non-conforming status as a short-term rental within any zip code, subarea or urban growth area must resolve any existing county code violations on the property and must have complied with all other relevant provisions. In addition, the property owner must apply for and have received an initial short-term rental administrative land use permit and all required conditional use permits. Failing to do so waives all claim to having existing non-conforming status.

An owner’s primary dwelling, or a legally established accessory dwelling unit, may be used as short-term rentals. Recreational vehicles, tents, or other temporary or mobile units will not be considered as short-term rentals.

A short-term rental operator must maintain primary liability insurance to cover the short-term rental dwelling unit in the aggregate of not less than $1 million, or conduct each short-term rental transaction through a platform that provides equal or greater primary liability insurance coverage. Liability insurance helps pay to repair another person's property or for their medical bills if the policy holder is found responsible for causing damage or injuries.

Yes. The term short-term rentals is more reflective of the industry definition and reflects that these dwellings are rented for purposes beyond vacations, including medical stays, re-locations and contract work.

If the short-term rental is a conforming rental, the permit is not transferable, even in the event of divorce or death.

If the short-term rental is non-conforming, transfer of a permit is acceptable if:

  1. The owner wishes to transfer the existing permitted, non-conforming status and currently issued operating permit to continue under a new owner one time within five years (three years within the Manson Urban Growth Area) of Sept. 27, 2021. The new owner may continue to operate under the existing short-term rental permit for the remainder of the current registration year and then must renew permits and operate in subsequent years under the permitting requirements applicable to the original owner -- provided that within 30 days of closing, the new owner has provided a contact name and registration information with Chelan County Community Development. The new owner must also provide signage and notification.
  2. A transfer occurs when the property is sold by a person or corporation to another person or corporation, or when officers of corporations are changed to remove former officers and add new officers. A transfer does not occur when officers are changed due to death, where title is held in survivorship with a spouse or a transfer on the owner’s death to benefit only a spouse or children for the lifetime of the spouse or children. The survivor may not sell or transfer title; the title may transfer among the survivors. In addition, a transfer cannot occur when, due to divorce, a former spouse’s name is removed from the deed or corporation.

No transfers of the existing non-conforming short-term rental status may occur other than as provided. The second owner of a lawful permit transferred must obtain all required short-term rental permits and meet all applicable requirements for all subsequent years beyond the current issued permit. If the property is transferred again, or is not issued a short-term rental permit in any subsequent years after initial transfer, the property loses its legal non-conforming status that would have applied to the original owner.



Yes. Short-term rentals must provide off-street parking. The number of available off-street parking spaces is one space per bedroom and one space for any onsite manager. In addition, if the site has been granted a Conditional Use Permit to exceed daytime occupancy use, then the number of parking spaces provided are to be one space for every four seats, or 8 feet of bench seating space. Off-street parking may not be located within a setback or within a recorded access easement. 

You will need to fill out an application and provide documentation to be considered as an existing non-conforming short-term rental. Please refer to the question "What is a non-conforming short-term rental?"

Between Sept. 27, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021, the owner must submit an application, supporting documentation and fees, according to the guidelines for non-conforming short-term rentals. If the application and required proof of existing use are not submitted within that timeline, the owner then must apply for a permit as a new short-term rental and meet the requiremments for that classification.

Proof of operation needs to include a copy of property listing showing it for rent, proof of income earned from that rental, and proof that sales and lodging taxes were paid for that rental.

Any property owner claiming existing non-conforming status as a short-term rental within any zip code, subarea or urban growth area must resolve any existing county code violations on the property and must have complied with all other relevant provisions. In addition, the property owner must apply for and have received an initial short-term rental administrative land use permit and all required conditional use permits. Failing to do so waives all claim to having existing non-conforming status.

Non-conforming short-term rental properties may only be changed, altered or enlarged in a manner requiring a permit issued under Chelan County codes. With the permit process, Community Development will help you determine if the changes are not allowed. In the case of a repair needed because of unexpected damage or a natural or human-caused event, the repair must return the short-term rental as it existed prior to the damage.

Any property that increases its non-conformance without written and permitted authorization of Community Development may be subject to immediate revocation of all short-term rental permits and will lose any legally non-conforming status as a short-term rental.

You would be considered a Tier 1 short-term rental if the rentals you refer to are less than 30 days.

Land use approvals refer to any permitting required specific to your intended use.

On or after Sept. 27, 2021, no short-term rental owner or operator may advertise, offer, operate, rent, or otherwise make available or allow any other person to make available for occupancy or use as a short-term rental without a valid short-term rental administrative land use permit issued by the director or a Conditional Use Permit approved by the hearing examiner. All dwelling units on a single parcel shall be reviewed concurrently in the same application, and the dwelling to be used as a short-term rental shall be clearly identified.

All uses on the property must fully comply with Chelan County code and the property may not have existing unresolved code permitting, land use or other violations to be eligible to apply for an administrative short-term rental land use permit or conditional use permit. Existing properties claiming non-conforming short-term rentals may be issued a provisional short-term rental permit and may be provided the time of their respective grace period, but no later than Dec. 31, 2022, to address all violations. No provisional or other short-term rental land use permits shall be issued after that date until any violations are resolved. The director may extend the timeframe for up to six additional months to obtain compliance upon showing of a good faith effort.

Annual renewal of the short-term rental land use permit is required:

  • Community Development will by Sept. 1 of each year, mail a renewal reminder notice to the permitted owner or operator, sent to the postal address or the email address on file, reminding them of the renewal requirement.
  • A permit expires annually on Dec. 31, regardless of when it was issued.
  • Annual permitting fees are not pro-rated.
  • Permit renewal applications for permitting year 2023 and beyond, must be received by Oct. 31 of the preceding year.

Permit renewal applications received after Dec. 31 will not be accepted, and the short-term rental must immediately cease operations on Jan. 1 of the following year. The owner and property loses any vesting to continue operating as a legally conforming or non-conforming short-term rental. Expired short-term rentals are subject to the housing cap provisions and must apply as a new short-term rental.

An exception allows the director of Community Development, upon showing of a hardship reason for an applicant’s delay, to consider accepting a permit renewal application received after Oct. 31 but before Dec. 31 of the same year. The director may assess double the normal fees for permitting, provided the short-term rental may not continue operation past Dec. 31 until the permit application is approved and a permit issued.

No. A short-term rental owner may operate only one short-term rental per parcel as designated on their permit application form, which may be in either the primary dwelling or the accessory dwelling unit -- not both. If the short-term rental occurs in a multi-family dwelling, the same owner may not rent more than one unit in the development.

Application Type Fee
Conditional use permit $1,520
Short-term rental Tier 1 and 2: 2021 provisional registration $125
Short-term rental Tier 3: 2021 provisional registration $187.50
Short-term rental Tier 1: 2022 provisional, annual or renewal permit $500
Short-term rental Tier 2: 2022 provisional, annual or renewal permit  $500
Short-term rental Tier 3 rental if CUP required (new Tier 3 first permit, includes CUP application $2,270
Short-term rental Tier 3: second provisional, annual and renewal, and includes annual CUP renewal, if no new CUP required $750
Short-term rentals of any type that did not properly register per Chelan County Code 11.88.290(2)(E) or (4)(B) Assessed DOUBLE application fees
Short-term rental fire and life safety inspections by fire marshal or designee $100
If an owner requests inspections with the first permit or inspections are waived by the director, the fee will be equivalent to the annual renewal  


For the 2021 and 2022 permit years, a “provisional” permitting process will be used because of the large volume of applications expected.That means a complete permit review may take up to several months to determine if operation beyond this temporary provisional status will be allowed.

People notified of problems connected to their provisional application and permit will have up to 30 days to correct any deficiency. Failing to do so will require the property to cease operation as a short-term rental at the end of the 30-day period.

You get this through Chelan-Douglas Health District. Fill out this form and email to

Please specify that you need to know the number of bedrooms your septic system is approved to support.


Posted: 09/16/2021 11:05 AM
Last Updated: 09/08/2022 12:48 PM

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