Is Washington State a Good Place to Start an Airbnb?

Washington State is an excellent location for starting an Airbnb. Its beaches, mountains, and robust industries make it an active tourist destination. The only caution would be some of the rental restrictions in some of the larger cities (such as Seattle). Read them carefully or talk with a lawyer.

What Kind of Natural Amenities Does Washington Have?

Washington has some of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the US. The cascade mountains include Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Baker, and Mt. St. Helen’s to name just a few. All are popular destinations but not a quick drive. The common airports would be either Sea-Tac, or in the case of Mt. St. Helens and Adams, Portland, Oregon airport (PDX). Generally, guests to any of these scenic areas will need to drive.

An Airbnb could list the amenities as mountain climbing, hiking, skiiing, and nature.

It would not be uncommon for a host to have a house/cabin that has a mountain as a view. While not all mountains in Washington are easily accessible for the non-expert climbers, almost all have trails at the base of the mountains. Washington has over 700 miles of hiking in State parks, but over 5000 miles in other sites (like Federal, County and City). Washington is a hikers dream. Note: some of these parks will require passes and your guest (or you) should be forewarned. The mountains lend themselves to hikes in the spring and summer, and skiing in the Winter. Below are some common ski resorts

  • The Summit as Snoqualmie
  • Crystal Mountain
  • Steven’s Pass
  • White Pass
The Beautful Reflection of Mt Rainier from the Bench Lake

What kind of Beaches are in Washington?

Washington has a coast line of 150+ miles; but keep in mind it also has about 3,000 miles of inland beaches when you count it’s inland bays, lakes, rivers, and islands. Washington has the extreme when it comes to beaches – craggley drop offs, sandy beaches, rocky, hilly slopes to name a few.

The beaches are a great attraction to visitors; but there are less visitors in the fall and winter because of the weather. Winters in Washington are rainy on the west side and can be cold and snowy on the East side.

Just a note regarding beaches in Washington. The Water is very cold – if your guest is coming from the East coast or internatinally, they can visit and swim in the ocean – but it’s cold. The average ocean temperatures for Washington fall between 44 degrees (exposed Neah Bay) and 56 degreees fahrenheit (inland bay, Seattle).

Marine landscape. Small islands and rocks on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

What Businesses in Washington State Need Airbnb?

There are many Airbnb hosts that make a living off of offering city experiences to their guests visiting the cities for business. The top citiy destinations are in the Seattle, Bellevue, and Renton area. While Eastern washington has the food and agriculture industry; almost 90% of the largest employers are on the west side of the state.

The top industries are

  • Food And Agriculture.
  • Aerospace And Construction.
  • Information And Communication Technology.
  • Forestry.
  • Trade.
Seattle downtown at night

What is the Average Cost of a House in Washington State?

The average cost of a house in Washington State varies greatly from city to city with King County being one of the most expensive. The following are averages given by the state, zillow, and Redfin.

  • Office of Financial Management (State of Washington) Average $452,400 for 2020.
  • Zillow 3/31/22 $606,643
  • Zillow 12/2021 $555,943
  • Zillow 6/2021 $519,552
  • $491,400 (no given date)
  • Redfin $699,999 (no given date)

How do I Calculate the potential Rental Income for a Washington Airbnb?

What Kind of Laws or Codes Exist in Washington State regarding Airbnbs?

The short term tenancy code is covered under RCW Title 64 Chapter 64.37 and can be accessed with the links below.


Chapter 64.37 RCW


64.37.030Consumer safety.
64.37.040Short-term rental platforms.
64.37.050Liability insurance.

The RCW’s (Revised Codes of Washington) cover the existing state laws for short term rentals (Airbnb)

The RCW 64.37.040 is pretty short – it states the below. It’s primary statement says that Airbnb is allowed; but it gives restrictions to the platform such as Airbnb. What this means is the primary rules will be set by the county or city. It will be your job to review those requirements and restrictions.

RCW 64.37.020


Short-term rental operators must remit all applicable local, state, and federal taxes unless the platform does this on the operator’s behalf. This includes occupancy, sales, lodging, and other taxes, fees, and assessments to which an owner or operator of a hotel or bed and breakfast is subject in the jurisdiction in which the short-term rental is located. If the short-term rental platform collects and remits an occupancy, sales, lodging, and other tax, fee, or assessment to which a short-term rental operator is subject on behalf of such operator, the platform must collect and remit such tax to the appropriate authorities.[ 2019 c 346 § 2.]

RCW 64.37.030

Consumer safety.

(1) All short-term rental operators who offer dwelling units, or portions thereof, for short-term rental use in the state of Washington must:(a) Provide contact information to all short-term rental guests during a guest’s stay. The contact must be available to respond to inquiries at the short-term rental during the length of stay;(b) Provide that their short-term rental is in compliance with RCW 19.27.530 and any rules adopted by the state building code council regarding the installation of carbon monoxide alarms; and(c) Post the following information in a conspicuous place within each dwelling unit used as a short-term rental:(i) The short-term rental street address;(ii) The emergency contact information for summoning police, fire, or emergency medical services;(iii) The floor plan indicating fire exits and escape routes;(iv) The maximum occupancy limits; and(v) The contact information for the operator or designated contact.(2) Short-term rental platforms must provide short-term rental operators with a summary of the consumer safety requirements in subsection (1) of this section.(3) For a first violation of this section, the city or county attorney must issue a warning letter to the owner or operator. An owner that violates this section after receiving a warning letter is guilty of a class 2 civil infraction under chapter 7.80 RCW.[ 2019 c 346 § 3.]

RCW 64.37.040

Short-term rental platforms.

(1) No short-term rental platform may engage in the business in the state of Washington unless the short-term rental platform is in compliance with the requirements of this chapter.(2) A short-term rental platform must register with the department.(3) Short-term rental platforms must inform all operators who use the platform of the operator’s responsibilities to collect and remit all applicable local, state, and federal taxes unless the platform does this on the operator’s behalf.(4) Short-term rental platforms must inform all operators who use the platform of short-term rental safety requirements required in this chapter.(5) Short-term rental platforms must provide all operators who use the platform with written notice, delivered by mail or electronically, that the operator’s personal insurance policy that covers their dwelling unit might not provide liability protection, defense costs, or first party coverage when their property is used for short-term rental stays.[ 2019 c 346 § 4.]

RCW 64.37.050

Liability insurance.

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 one million dollars or conduct each short-term rental transaction through a platform that provides equal or greater primary liability insurance coverage. Nothing in this section prevents an operator or a platform from seeking contributions from any other insurer also providing primary liability insurance coverage for the short-term rental transaction to the extent of that insurer’s primary liability coverage limits.[ 2019 c 346 § 5.]

Seattle codes

Short-Term Rental License Posting and Format

Short-term Rental Operator Licenses issued by the City must be posted on every listing advertising or offering the short-term rental unit, including listings on platforms (e.g VRBO, Expedia, MrBnb, Airbnb etc.). The short-term rental license must be posted in this format: STR-OPLI-##-######. Example STR-OPLI-21-000123. Platforms may remove listings if the license number is not formatted correctly.

Short-Term Rental License Renewals

  • Short-term Rental Operator licenses are valid for 12 months from the date they are issued (e.g., if you received your short-term operator’s license on March 15, 2021, your license renewal is due on or before March 15, 2022). 
  • Renewal reminder e-mails will be sent to the e-mail you have on file for the short-term rental operator license. To renew your license, login to your Seattle Services Portal account ( ) and follow the steps below:     
  1. From the home page, click My Records and select Licenses – Short Term Rentals
  2. Locate your license record, and click the Renew link in the Action column
  3. Follow the prompts, and provide the required information   

Under provisions of the Seattle Municipal Code, failure to maintain the required regulatory license while operating may result in enforcement actions.

If you have questions about short-term rental licensing, please contact customer service at (206) 386-1267 or

Get licensed to operate short-term rentals

If you operate short-term rentals (STRs) in Seattle, you must have both a business license tax certificate and a regulatory license for STRs. Operating an STR without a regulatory license could subject you to fines and other penalties. Avoid fines and penalties by completing the licensing process.

  1. If you have not already done so, begin by obtaining a City of Seattle business license tax certificate. (Allow 48 hours after you first apply to proceed to applying for the STR regulatory license.) You may do this online at
  2. Next, please determine if your STR property is subject to Seattle’s Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance. If so, register your property with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections prior to applying for a regulatory license for short-term rental operators.
  3. Finally, apply for an STR regulatory license through the Seattle Services Portal. If you do not already have a Seattle Services Portal account, you will be required to create one. You may also submit a paper application, however, please note that paper applications take longer to process. The fee for an STR operator regulatory license is $75 per unit and it must be renewed annually.

If you are not able to complete the licensing process online, please contact customer service at (206) 386-1267 or prior to mailing in a paper application.  You may download and print a paper application here.

Helpful information about Seattle’s STR Ordinance

The City’s short-term rental ordinance limits the number of units that any one short-term rental operator can operate. (An operator can be a single person, a marital unit, a group of people, or a corporate entity such as an LLC.) The licensing process requires you to include the addresses of specific units to your operator license.

Most short-term rental operators may operate two units: the operator’s primary residence and a secondary unit, one in which the operator does not live. The primary unit may be an attached or detached accessory dwelling unit (ADU or DADU) or an “in-law” apartment contained within a larger housing unit. Rented rooms without their own kitchens and bathrooms do not count towards an operator’s two units and do not require an additional license. They are covered by a STR operator’s primary or secondary residence license. (As an example, if there are three rooms in your house that you offer for rent on an STR platform, you need to obtain an STR license for your primary residence, and all three of these rooms are covered by that single license.)

For operators who have been legally operating short-term rental units prior to Sept. 30, 2017, some special provisions apply. If you operate one or more legacy units (consistent with the limitations of the STR ordinance, you will be required to upload documentation demonstrating its use as a short-term rental within the 12-month period prior to Sept. 30, 2017. This documentation is often referred to as a rental registry. Please have a digital copy (.pdf, .xls or .xlsx, or .doc) of your rental registry ready to upload as you are applying for an operator license.

Can You Summarize Seattles Short-Term Rental Codes?

Seattle requires an operator of a short-term rental (Airbnb host) to register every 12 months. This, of course, gives them the option to change their requirements quite easily. They can decide not to grant it to “this side of the road” or limit the number they want to issue.

But most importantly, in Seattle, they limit the number of Airbnb to your primary residency plus one short-term property.

What Are the Drawbacks to Hosting an Airbnb In Washington?

One of the drawbacks can be the winter weather – but having said that, most visitors are aware of the weather and can dress accordingly. With proper attire almost all of Washington (with the exception of a few snow storms on the East side) are well within enjoyment levels for the outdoors. If your guest knows the rainy weather they can go almost any where and have fun.

Washington is a big state, in size it’s the 18th largest state with over 45 million acres.

Are Hosts Responsible for the Taxes In Washington State/

Airbnb is responsible for collecting the taxes from the guest and submitting this to the State. Washington State has combined sales tax of between 7% and 9.6% depending on the city. The tax rates can be found at WA.Gov. There is also a special Hotel/Motel tax on transient lodging which is collect on reservations. This Special Hotel/Motel tax is 1% to 5% of listing and ALSO includes the cleaning fees charged to guest. There may be other city taxes only applicable to certain cities or counties.

Guest staying longer than 29 days fall under different laws.

Special note: Seattle charges a $1 per night reservation for stays 28 nights and shorter.

What is the Average Cost of a House in Washington State?

to be continued

How Much Does it Cost to Run an Airbnb in Washington?

to be continued

How to calculate the cost of Running an Airbnb in Washington

to be continued

How Can I Run an Airbnb Long distance?

to be continued

How Much Are Airbnb hosts Charging in Washington State?

To calculate the potential income a host earns you can get the approximate data directly from Airbnb. Once you access their site; go to the city of research and

Does Airbnb submit my taxes to Washington State Directly?

to be continued

What Are Some Aibnb Horror Stories in Washington State?

to be continued

Here Are Some Statistics About Washington State

to be continued

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