Short Term Rentals

Short Term Rental

Vacation rentals or short-term rentals (STRs) are rentals that are typically listed online through sites such as Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO) and AirBnB for less than 30 days. An increase in short-term rental activity came to the City’s attention in early 2017 through a variety of means, including inquiries on permitting the use, concerns regarding sales tax collection, and neighbor complaints.

Based on this interest, staff researched practices in other communities for temporary lodging regulations, contacting local operators to ensure appropriate tax collection, and tracking complaints. Several public hearings and study sessions were held by both City Council and Planning Commission. Additionally, staff launched a public engagement forum on to encourage discussion on any regulations being considered and survey the public.

Regulations and a licensing system, Ordinance 2078 pdf download, was adopted by Golden City Council on May 24, 2018.

Know Your Zoning District

Use our Parcel Information Map to determine the zoning district in which your property resides.

Short Term Rental License

STR’s located in the residential zoning districts require proof of primary residency upon application (RE, R-1, R1-A, R-2, R-3 and PUD’s that are residential in nature).

STR’s are located in residential zoning districts. They must be occupied by the property owner for at least 10 months of the year,while having a portion of the dwelling unit rented for less than 30 days at a time. This may include duplexes or carriage houses if located on the same property that is used as the primary residence. Only one license will be granted per lot.

Tourist Home License

STR’s located in the commercial zoning districts do not require proof of primary residency upon application (C-1, C-2, RC, CMU and PUD’s that are commercial in nature).

Tourist Homes are located in commercial zoning districts, and have a unit or portion of a dwelling unit rented for less than 30 days. Tourist homes are NOT required to be the primary residence or occupied by the owner of record and home owners may rent the entire house for less than 30 days at a time year-round.

Applying for a Short Term Rental License

Visit our Online Permitting System and register for an account to submit your application online.

Applicants will be required to provide the following:

  • Proof of ownership (recorded warranty deed for the property)
  • Proof of primary residence (if applying for a STR license in a residential zoned district)
    • Acceptable forms of proof include (2 of the following):
      • Voter registration, Car Registration, Driver’s License, Tax documents, Utility Bill
  • Description of Area and Parking Form
  • A copy of your Sales and Use Tax License
    • Accepted by the Finance Department and returned to you
  • Proof of fire, hazard, and liability insurance coverage of 1 million per person/occurrence
    • Liability insurance document OR Liability Insurance Affidavit
    • Life Safety Self Certification Form
  • A check, cash, or pay by credit card online – $200

Please allow up to 10 business days for processing. Once approved, a copy of your license will be emailed to you, and must be posted in the dwelling unit.

Call us at 303-384-8097 if you have any questions.


Licenses are $200 for two years and are non-refundable and non-transferable.

License must be posted in the dwelling unit that is used as a short-term rental.

License number must be included in all advertising.

General Notes

Primary and accessory structures are allowed to be rented on a short-term basis. All structures must comply with the regulations for primary and accessory structures including maximum size, height, lot coverage, and setbacks for the property’s zone district.

If a lot contains more than one legal dwelling unit, including accessory dwelling units, only one dwelling unit on the lot is eligible for a license.

Occupancy of a short-term rental shall not exceed the total number of unrelated persons that are otherwise permitted to occupy the property per the dwelling unit’s zoning district. For example, a single family lot may have no more than four unrelated individuals occupying the property.

Application Documents

Open Homes Program

Through, registered Hosts can give individuals a temporary free place to stay after a natural disaster. The recent fires in Boulder County in December 2021 highlight the importance of this program, and Golden wants to enable its residents to use the “Open Homes” program to benefit our neighbors in need to our north. If you are already an Airbnb host and licensed in Golden, you can choose to participate within your current Airbnb account, and the City encourages you to do so.

However, if you are not currently an Airbnb host, but live in Golden and want to participate in the Open Homes program on a temporary basis, the City has created a streamlined Short Term Rental license process. Just download Golden’s Temporary Airbnb Open Homes License Application and submit it to for review and approval. This application allows the City to keep track of all Open Homes licenses and exempt temporary participants from Short Term License fees. Since Open Homes offers free lodging to natural disaster victims, there is no processing fee for your application and no requirement for a sales and use tax license by the City of Golden. You can register to be an Airbnb host and choose to participate in the Open Homes program through Airbnb. Once your Open Homes free listing has been created, just provide a screenshot, or other proof of participation in the program, along with your Golden application.

COG Mesa

 Did You Know?
Golden was originally chosen as the territorial capital of Colorado in 1862.

Additional Resources

City of Golden, Colorado
COG Mesa
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