US Short-Term Vacation Rental Regulations

U.S. COVID-19 Restrictions Affecting Short-Term Rentals

With the second wave of coronavirus in action and constant changes in restrictions and regulations, it’s important to stay in the know. If you’re a short-term vacation rental owner or manager, knowing the latest statewide rules will allow you to act accordingly regarding your business. 


Despite all the ups and downs over the past year due to the pandemic, it’s important to note that the vacation rental industry is still going strong and constantly adapting. From targeting specific guest types like workationers and domestic travelers, vacation rentals have been able to continue to receive bookings through the madness. 

Disclaimer: This story was published on November 11. We recommend also visiting official state websites to get the most recent news and changes.

Short-term vacation rental restrictions in the US

Arizona

There are no travel statewide travel restrictions in Arizona and most businesses have already reopened. Nonetheless, your guests may be looking for activities that don’t involve overcrowded spaces so keep track of parks, monuments, national forests, wineries, tours, and other attractions. It may be the perfect opportunity to work together with some local businesses and increase your revenue with upsells.  

Find out what’s open in Arizona here. 

California

While there are currently no statewide travel restrictions, California has divided its counties into color-tiers depending on the rate of coronavirus cases. 

  • The purple tier (where the virus is most prevalent) allows lodging operations. Only outdoor dining is permitted and limited capacity must be respected in other essential businesses such as hair salons and retail stores. Indoor pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas are not allowed to open while outdoor hot tubs can be used by groups from the same household or if social distancing is possible. Gyms are only allowed to operate outdoors.
  • Counties in the red tier allow lodging operations. Indoor dining options are now permitted for restaurants at a limited capacity, as well as other nonessential businesses. Indoor gyms can open at 10% capacity but indoor pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas must remain closed for the time being.
  • For counties in the orange tier, lodging operations are allowed. Bars can open outdoor services and indoor gyms can operate at 25% capacity. Indoor pools (which do not include water parks) can be used by groups from the same household or if social distancing is possible but indoor hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms must remain closed.  
  • Last but not least, for counties in the yellow tier, lodging operations are allowed and nonessential businesses can reopen indoor services as long as they follow the safety and cleaning requirements. Indoor gyms can open at 50% capacity and pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas may open to the public if social distancing can be maintained.  

Make sure to check out the regulations in your specific county as they may vary. 

In general, as a short-term vacation rental owner or manager, you should create a COVID-19 prevention plan that includes the state’s implementation of face masks, follow the proper sanitation protocols (such as allowing 24-72 hours between stays), and avoid offering units in occupied residences. 

Double-check that all guests are fully aware of new check-in procedures and cleaning requirements during the booking process. Upon arrival, encourage the use of face masks and emphasize social distancing measures. It’s also recommended to avoid hosting large groups unless they are from the same household. 

If your vacation rental property is in California, keep in mind wildfires that may affect air quality and transportation. 

Ensure that your vacation rental follows all the necessary requirements and procedures by downloading the COVID-19 General Checklist. For more information, check out the latest updates on COVID-19 and wildfires here.

Colorado

There are no statewide travel restrictions in Colorado but nonessential travel is not recommended. 

If you do accept bookings, be sure to encourage responsible tourism and stay updated on wildfires that may affect the experience of your guests. 

Find out more here.

Florida

There are currently no statewide travel restrictions in Florida. All businesses can open and occupancy restrictions have been lifted although this can vary depending on the city or county. 

Regarding specific short-term vacation rental restrictions, the statewide rules were lifted on September 25th. Rental providers should, however, continue to follow the CDC’s reopening guidance and the DBPR’s sanitation requirements. 

It’s important to know that there are still some standards that must be met in certain counties as part of their reopening plans: Broward County, Duval County, Escambia County, Lee County, Miami-Dade County, Orange County, Monroe County, Palm Beach County, and Pinellas County

  • In Miami-Dade County, staff and guests must use face masks and respect social distancing when interacting. It’s recommended to install high-efficiency air filters and HVAC systems to increase airflow. For employees that are at high risk due to frequent contact with guests, regular testing should be conducted. 
  • In Orange County, the DBPR recommends online communication with guests to minimize contact and bans the use of vacation rentals for events or group gatherings that exceed the limited capacity. Furthermore, all guests should be provided with the CDC cleaning guidelines. If they’re traveling with pets, the CDC Guidance should also be provided.  Vacation rentals may open in Palm Beach County as long as they follow the Safety Plan that includes mandatory employee training and CDC cleaning guidelines.  

Check out the latest updates in Florida here. 

Short term vacation rentals

Idaho

Idaho is currently in Stage 3 of its reopening plan. This means there are no statewide restrictions on travel but guests should continue to follow the CDC travel guidelines. In places like Ada County, travelers coming from other states are encouraged to self-quarantine. 

Restaurants, bars, and nightclubs can open with seating that respects social distancing measures. 

Click here for more information on Idaho’s reopening plan.

Illinois

There are currently no statewide travel restrictions in Illinois but depending on what state your guests are traveling from, a 14-day quarantine might be required. Depending on the region, different regulations are taking place. For some, indoor dining is no longer permitted. For regions in Phase 4, restaurants can open their indoor services at limited capacity. Nonessential businesses can open if safety measures are followed. Masks are required in indoor public spaces statewide. 

Regarding short-term rental regulations related to COVID-19, there are currently none statewide but be sure to check out Chicago’s emergency travel order

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, residents have been ordered to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m with exceptions such as grocery shopping and going to work. Nonessential businesses must close at an earlier hour and private indoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people. Face masks are required statewide regardless of social distancing. 

Short-term vacation rentals in Massachusetts should follow the necessary safety standards, which requires renters and staff to wear face masks, follow sanitation measures (which involves a 24 hour cleaning period between stays), and to notify guests about the state’s travel order that imposes a 14-day self-quarantine for most travelers coming from different states. 

Check out the latest updates here. 

Minnesota

Currently, in Phase 3 of its Stay Safe Plan, Minnesota has no statewide short-term rental or travel restrictions. Restaurants, bars, and retail stores can open at 50% capacity with reservations. Indoor entertainment attractions can open at 25% capacity so it’s important to list these activities on your website or listing to encourage potential guests to book. 

Minnesota also offers many outdoor activities such as biking and hiking that are especially attractive during a time where people want to be isolated so make sure to highlight these options as well. 

Find out more here.

Short term rental regulations

Missouri

There are no statewide travel restrictions in Missouri but some attractions may be closed due to the pandemic. If your vacation rental website or listing includes activities such as visiting state parks or historic sites, confirm that they are open using this Park and Site Status Viewer

New Jersey

Guests traveling from states that have a COVID-19 testing positivity of 10% or higher should either provide a negative test or self-quarantine for 14 days. 

Regarding specific short-term vacation rental regulations, the Governor’s Executive Order No. 108 grants counties and municipalities to impose further restrictions on these businesses. 

If your vacation rental is near a beach, take advantage of this time where most people are trying to steer clear of over-populated cities, and market your property correctly.

New York

There are currently no statewide restrictions on short-term rentals in New York but vacation rental owners in Essex County and Franklin County are discouraged from attracting nonresidents to these counties and asked to remove their short-term rental listings for the time being. 

Find out more here. 

Wisconsin

While there are currently no statewide travel or short-term rental restrictions, guests coming from other states and Wisconsin itself are encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days. Check out the latest updates here. 

The Silver Lining

Unlike a few months ago, we now see the light at the end of the tunnel with businesses opening back up and restrictions being lifted. Nonetheless, these trying times have truly shown how resilient the vacation rental industry is and the demand that will always exist for these properties. For more information and tips on reopening your vacation rental business, check out our COVID-19 Resources. 


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