City of Walla Walla

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Short-term rental FAQ

While these frequently asked question responses endeavor to answer most concerns from community members, please read the rules in their entirety as outlined in Ordinance No. 2017-33, which can be found here.

What are Type 1 and Type 2 short-term rentals?

"Short-term rental" means temporary lodging for charge or fee at a dwelling for a period of less than one month, or less than 30 continuous days if the rental period does not begin on the first day of the month.

Short-term rental Type 1 means short-term rental at a dwelling that is the owner's principal residence and where either (1) rooms are rented and the owner is personally present at the dwelling during the rental period, or (2) the entire dwelling is rented no more than 90 total days in a calendar year. Portions of calendar days shall be counted as full days. The room(s) for rent may be located within a detached or attached accessory dwelling unit.

Short-term rental Type 2 means short-term rental at a dwelling that is not the owner's principal residence.

What did the City Council decide regarding non owner-occupied Type 2 short-term rentals?

City Council Members voted 5-2 to adopt Ordinance No. 2017-33, which bans new Type 2 short term rentals (non-owner occupied). Non owner-occupied short-term rentals within the city existing prior to Nov. 9, 2017, may potentially continue operation as a non-conforming use – provided that the owners have applied and obtained a City business registration before November 9, 2017 as well as demonstrated the following (as part of the permit application):

  • Property was used as a short-term rental during 2017 prior to Nov. 9, 2017
  • The property continued as a short-term rental as of Nov. 9, 2017
  • The owner fully and timely paid all applicable taxes for short-term rental use that occurred prior to Nov. 9, 2017.

You can read the ordinance by clicking here.

What if I own a Type 2 short-term rental?

  1. You must have applied for and obtained a City business registration before Nov. 9, 2017. If you have not, you need only fill out the first page of the registration application. Return the form to Development Services, 55 E. Moore Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362 along with the $45 application fee or email to .
  2. You must  be registered with Department of Revenue to remit your applicable taxes whether that is through registering and obtaining a UBI # or utilizing your SSN.  Ultimately a UBI # will be required for your application so Development Services Dept. has been directing applicants who don’t currently have a UBI # to obtain one.
    1. If you have been operating a Type 2 short-term rental without registering your business with the Washington Department of Revenue (DOR), you may be liable for tax, interest, and penalties. Visit the DOR's Voluntary Disclosure Program page for further information on addressing this.
  3. You must complete the application form and apply for a non-owner occupied Type 2 short-term rental permit and return it to Development Services along with a $150 application fee by Feb. 1, 2018. The registration form will be available beginning Nov. 20.  
  4. You must be current on all applicable tax payments to the Washington State Department of Revenue for an existing Type 2 short-term rental.

What will qualify Type 2 short-term rentals to be considered lawfully established and existing?

  1. Only those Type 2 short-term rentals that were lawfully established and existing will be allowed as non-conforming uses. The information outlined below is to be submitted as part of the permit application that will be available beginning November 20th for determination of “lawfully established and existing.” Use will not be considered lawfully established and existing unless the owner proves all of the following:
    1. That a location was used for short-term rental use during 2017 prior to Nov. 9, 2017.
    2. That the use was continuing as of Nov. 9, 2017 and not merely intermittent or occasional;
    3. That the owner registered the short-term rental use and obtained business registration card from the City of Walla Walla in accordance with Walla Walla Municipal Code chapter 20.142 before Nov. 9, 2017; and
    4. That all applicable taxes were paid fully and timely for all short-term rental use that occurred prior to Nov. 9, 2017.

How will I keep my Type 2 short-term rental in good standing?

The permit and license must be renewed annually. Applicable standards of Chapter 20.139 must be met and the following renewal requirements must also be met:

  1. Verification that all lodging taxes for year have been paid to the Washington State Department of Revenue.
  2. Schedule the annual inspection. Owners are responsible for scheduling the inspection.
  3. Renewals must provide proof that Type 2 short-term rental use continued throughout the preceding year. If such use has been discontinued or abandoned, then the Type 2 short-term rental must cease operation. Intent to discontinue and abandon shall be presumed if a location was not rented at least a total of 29 days during the preceding year. Discontinued and abandoned uses may not be reestablished, and no permit or license for a discontinued or abandoned Type 2 short-term rental use shall be renewed.

What if I sell my Type 2 short-term rental?

If the Type 2 short-term rental has been determined to be lawfully established and existing and the use has not been abandoned, then non-conforming status runs with the property. If the new owner continues the property as a Type 2 short-term rental, then the new owner is required to obtain a Type 2 short-term rental permit and license and comply with regulations.  

What are the rules regarding nuisance complaints?

Failure of the owner or the authorized agent or local contact of a Type 2 short-term rental to respond to a nuisance complaint to the Walla Walla Police Department arising out of the occupancy and use of the Type 2 short-term rental by a tenant, or the tenant's visitors or guests is a violation and will be fined as follows:

  1. First call and violation received is no charge;
  2. Second call and violation is $750.00; and
  3. Third call and violation is $1,000.00; and
  4. Fourth call and violation results in revocation of permit and license. 

How can I lose my Type 2 short-term permit and license?

  1. Type 2 short-term rental use must cease if such use has been discontinued or abandoned. Intent to discontinue and abandon a Type 2 short-term rental use shall be presumed if a location was not rented at least a total of 29 days during the preceding year. An owner may rebut such presumption by presenting proof that the failure to sufficiently rent a location was due to conditions over which the owner had no control. Discontinued and abandoned uses may not be reestablished, and no permit or license for a discontinued or abandoned Type 2 short-term rental use shall be renewed.
  2. Type 2 short-term rental use must cease if a location is not rented for short-term use for 6 consecutive months or more. When a location is not rented for Type 2 short-term use for 6 consecutive months or more, the use shall be deemed vacated even if the use has been unintentionally vacated.
  3. Type 2 permits and licenses may be suspended, modified, or revoked for violations of Chapter 20.139, for violation of any other law on the premises of the short term rental, or the maintenance of such other conditions as may be shown to be injurious to the public health and safety.

How will the City enforce the ordinance?

The City will enforce the ordinance as we do the other regulations within the municipal code.  See Section 20.139.100 of the amended short-term rental regulations and enforcement is process as outlined in Walla Walla Municipal Code Chapter 20.42.

City of Walla Walla, 15 North 3rd Avenue, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Business Hours:  8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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