Short-term home rentals

short term rentals

The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution December 7, 2015, amending the County Land Use and Development Code to allow short-term or vacation rentals in some zoning districts within Garfield County.

In December 2015, the commissioners approved short-term rentals in standard county zone districts. This approval does not include allowance for short-term rentals in Planned Unit Developments (PUDs).


Over the past several years, short-term rentals (a.k.a. vacation rentals) of residential housing units have become widely popular. With the advent of the “sharing economy,” websites have expanded the choice of nightly accommodations available to visitors through the nightly rental of otherwise single-family or multi-family long-term dwelling units. While the nightly rental of residential properties has been occurring for years, it has been primarily limited to highly visible tourist destinations and the units have been managed by local companies. The sharing economy has democratized this market and has allowed property owners in less tourist-oriented locations and with less resources available to pay a management company to rent their otherwise typically unused properties to visitors on a nightly basis. Up until December 7, 2015, however, such short-term rentals were not permitted within unincorporated Garfield County.

On December 7, 2015, the Board of County Commissioners amended the County Land Use and Development Code (LUDC) to allow short-term rentals in all standard zone districts such as Rural or Residential Zone districts, as a by-right use. However, this allowance does not include Planned Unit Developments (PUD) zone districts unless the individual PUD zoning permits such use. PUDs include a wide array of area within the County and include such developments as Aspen Glen, Oak Meadows, Iron Bridge, Lake Springs, Elk Springs, Coryell Ranch, Westbank Ranch, and Ranch at Roaring Fork, among other areas. Since PUDs have development specific zoning regulations, whether short-term rentals are permitted within those developments is determined by that development’s PUD Guide.

PUD Guides for reference

For all properties within unincorporated Garfield County and outside PUDs, the approved text amendment has the following impacts for property owners:

  • Property owners may rent out their entire home or portion of their home for any period of time (e.g. nightly, weekly, monthly, seasonally or long-term) without the need for a Land Use Change Permit.
  • A property owner who is renting out their home as a short-term rental is still required to obtain a state sales tax license and pay applicable sales taxes.
  • Any modifications made to the home for the purposes of renting the property on a short-term or long-term basis are still required to obtain building permits through the Garfield County Building Department, if necessary.

Please contact the Planning Division if you have questions whether this is a permitted use in your location. Please contact the Community Development Department at (970) 945-8212.