WENATCHEE — Short-term rental operators can apply starting Monday to have their units grandfathered in under new Chelan County regulations.

The deadline to file is Dec. 31 and county officials expect to be slammed with applications from property owners who want to keep renting after more restrictive regulations kick in.

“We’ve created a new application, a variety of helpful forms and a website to help people through this process,” Community Development Director Jim Brown said in a news release. “We are also preparing staff on what to expect and how to accept those applications. We are expecting hundreds of applications between Sept. 27 and the end of the year.”

Up to 1,500 short-term rental units are in Chelan County, most of them single-family homes. It took nearly two years to develop the county’s short-term rental code.

All existing short-term rental operators have the opportunity to apply so they can grandfathered if:

  • The rental’s location was used for short-term rental purposes between July 28, 2019, and Aug. 25, 2020.
  • The short-term rental operator can prove they received short-term rental revenue during that time.
  • The operator can prove sales and lodging taxes were fully paid for all short-term rental use during that time.

If not, they will need to apply as a new short-term rental. That application process opens Dec. 1.

Applications for new short-term rentals will not be approved until the number of rentals in different areas of Chelan County drops below the percentage threshold outlined in the county’s new code that was approved by commissioners in July.

In the Leavenworth residential zone, for example, short-term rentals can only make up 6% of the total housing stock, according to the code.

The new code and application forms are available online at wwrld.us/str. People can download the application and then submit the application and its attachment to CD.STR.applications@co.chelan.wa.us.

Applications can also be submitted in person to 316 Washington St., Suite 301, in Wenatchee.

“It may take several months to review your application,” said Kirsten Ryles, manager of the Short-Term Rental Division, in a news release.

“But we will get to all of them as quickly as possible. We’re excited to be opening up the application process, but we ask that the public be patient. With hundreds of applications expected in the next three months, this will be like nothing Community Development has ever experienced.”

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Oscar Rodriguez: (509) 665-1179