Washington’s New Short-Term Rental Law Requires Liability Insurance

May 13, 2019

Legislation signed into law by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee requires short-term rentals to remit all taxes, maintain liability insurance and includes critical consumer safety provisions, according to the Washington Hospitality Association.

The association said Substitute House Bill 1798 was a top priority for group the during the 2019 Legislative Session.

Rep. Cindy Ryu, D- Shoreline, the bill’s prime sponsor said the law levels the playing “field for our local hotels,”

The new law requires short-term rental operators and platforms to register with the state Department of Revenue and remit all local, state and federal taxes. Importantly, short-term rentals will also pay local lodging taxes which helps pay for tourism-related activities in local communities across the state.

Short-term rental operators will have new consumer safety requirements as a result of this legislation. These requirements include providing consumers with the contact information of someone who may respond to guest inquiries during a stay and compliance with carbon monoxide alarm laws.

Short-term rental operators will also need to post the rental unit’s address, emergency services contact information, the floor plan with fire exits and escape routes, maximum occupancy limits and the operator’s contact information in an obvious place within the short-term rental unit.

The final bill contains a provision requiring that short-term rental operators must maintain primary liability insurance of at least $1 million to cover the rental unit. Short-term rental operators may also fulfill this requirement if they conduct the rental transaction through a platform that provides insurance coverage.

The bill will goes into effect on July 27, 90 days following the adjournment of the 2019 Legislative Session.

Source: Washington Hospitality Association

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