Short-Term Rental

Here you will find helpful information to assist you when licensing your short-term rental. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ordinance No 15, Series 2021 (PDF), and Ordinance No 26, Series 2022 (PDF) place some limitations on short-term rentals. View and download Chapter 6, Section 6 of the Buena Vista Municipal Code (PDF).

Short-Term Rental License Limits:

Short-Term Rental Flow Category Flow Chart. This information is described in full on the webpage.  Opens in new window

  • Natural persons who reside outside of Chaffee County who seek to license their property OR those who seek to license a property held in an entity (trust, LLC, etc.) are allowed to license no more than 6% of the total residential housing units in town.
  • Natural persons who reside in Chaffee County that seek to license a non-entity-held property that is NOT their primary residence are allowed to license no more than 3% of the total residential housing units in town.
  • Natural persons who seek to license all or part of their primary residence within the town limits are not subject to a percentage cap. 
  • Natural persons or entities who seek to license their property in the MU-MS zone district (properties that front East Main St. and typically have an East Main Street address) or in the South Main PUD are not subject to a percentage cap. Limit of three (3) licenses per structure when the structure is under single ownership. View Short Term Rental Cap Exemption Zones Map (PDF).
    • Note: Properties in the MU-MS zone district are still required to obtain a special use permit to operate as a short-term rental. For more information on the process, contact the Town Planning Department at 719-581-1028 and submit the Special Use Application Form (PDF) with associated fees. 
    • Please do confuse the MU-MS zone with MU-2. Properties in MU-2 and NOT exempt (Cedar Street, which runs parallel to East Main on the south, is either MU-2 or R-3). 

Additional Requirements:

  • One license is required per address. Each housing unit you seek to license must have a unique address and valid certificate of occupancy. This includes accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and other conversions made to existing structures that are either attached or detached from the existing home. 
  • Homes under construction cannot apply for a short-term rental license until a certificate of occupancy is issued by Chaffee County. 
  • As per Ordinance 26, Series 2022 (PDF), adopted on September 28th, 2022, new applications must pass a fire inspection within sixty (60) days of receiving conditional approval from the Town after the application is submitted. For renewals that are subject to a new fire inspection, the same requirement applies. 
  • Applicants are responsible for compliance with any private covenants. No refunds will be provided to licensees who are not in compliance with covenants and cannot use the license.

Sale of Property Used as STR:

  • Existing short-term rental licenses are NON-TRANSFERABLE with the sale of a property. Once the property ownership transfer is complete, the existing STR license is voided, and the new owner must apply for a new STR license. 

Licensing Fees:

  • The fee for an initial/new license is $250.00, and $150.00 for renewal licenses.

2024 Available Licenses:

Note The number of in-town residential housing units used to determine the short-term rental percentage caps for 2023 licensing: 1943. An updated count is determined annually on August 31st and published online no later than September 15th. 

The number of licenses allowed includes current/active license holders. 

Property Ownership: Out-of-County Residents or ANY Entity117NO*
Property Ownership: In-County Resident, Non-Primary Residence (Non-Entity)58YES
Property Ownership: Owner's Primary Residence (Non-Entity)UnlimitedYES
Property Location: MU-MS and South Main PUD Zone DistrictsUnlimitedYES

*If there are no licenses available, you may apply without payment and will be placed on the waitlist. We cannot "hold" your spot on the waitlist if you are considering purchasing a property or are under contract - you must have full ownership before applying for a license/waitlist.

How to apply for an STR:

First, remember that a short-term rental is defined as a residential structure, or a portion thereof, in which the entire structure or two (2) or fewer habitable spaces are made available to paying guests for thirty consecutive days or less. If you meet this definition, you are subject to licensing requirements. If you are unsure if you are eligible for a short-term rental license, please carefully re-read the information on this page and contact the Deputy Town Clerk with questions.

Before you apply:

  • Confirm the property you wish to license is within town limits. Use the Short Term Rental Cap Exemption Zones Map (PDF) to confirm the property location. If the property is not within town limits, check current licensing requirements for Chaffee County by calling 719-530-5570 or email
  • Be able to prove property ownership. It is required that you include a copy of the property warranty deed or special warranty deed (included in property closing documents) when you submit your application. You may not submit an application if you are under contract on the property you wish to license. If you do not have a copy of your deed, you may obtain one from the Chaffee County Clerk. A screenshot from the assessor's website or copies of mortgage statements is not acceptable. 
  • Review private covenants for the property, if applicable. Applicants are responsible for compliance with any private covenants. No refunds will be provided to licensees who are not in compliance with covenants and cannot use the license.  
  • Understand that applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Town staff will date and time stamp the application upon receipt. Applicants who do not receive a license due to limitations will be placed on a waitlist in the order received, and any fee paid will be refunded, voided, destroyed, or not accepted.
Applications, new or renewal, will not be accepted via email at any point.
Please mail or drop off complete applications.
NEW Short-Term RentalRENEWAL Short-Term Rental
2024 NEW Short-term rental application packet (PDF) - New applications for 2024 are accepted until September 2024. Please note that applications for 2024 must be processed, and the fire inspection passed before September 30, 2024. Any 2024 licensee that wishes to renew for 2025 will then be required to renew in October of 2024.
2024 Short-term rental renewal packet (PDF) - Renewal period for 2024 is over. Renewals for 2025 will be accepted in October of 2024.

The Town of Buena Vista does not process renewals for short-term rentals located in unincorporated Chaffee County!

Additional Helpful Information:

Sales Tax License: If you advertise your STR exclusively on Airbnb, VRBO, or Evolve, you do not need a sales tax license. If you list anywhere else, you must collect sales tax and must have a Colorado state sales tax to do so. Please visit the Colorado Department of Revenue website on how to apply for and obtain a state sales tax license.

Site Plans and Floor Plans: The site and floor plan examples can be digitally created or hand-drawn (must be legible). If you have any questions about the information that must be included, please contact us.

Short-Term Rental Site Plan Example (PDF)

Short-Term Rental Floor Plan Example (PDF)