Short-Term Rental Proposal Update

On September 12, 2019, Mayor Dave Bieter announced a series of proposed changes to city code to address community concerns with short-term rentals within the City of Boise. Following feedback from Community Conversations on Growth and public outreach that led to the successful amendment of the city’s development code that relaxed restrictions on accessory dwelling units (ADUs), the city is once again considering amendments to the development code.

The proposed amendment would allow only one short-term rental per conforming, taxable parcel in residentials zones in the City of Boise. Additional amendment highlights include requirements for an administratively approved application, on-site owner occupancy, and code compliance.

What is a Short-Term Rental?

A short-term rental is most often the rental of a residential dwelling unit, room in a dwelling, or an accessory building for periods of less than 30 consecutive days. Short-term rentals can be managed by an individual property owner in-person or through a mobile app, or they can be managed by a rental agency.

Currently, the city does not regulate short-term rentals. The city is also limited by Idaho Code 67-6539 which allows the city to implement "reasonable regulations" that "protect the integrity of residential neighborhoods in which short-term rentals or vacation rentals operate."

Addressing Neighborhood Concerns

The city has heard from hundreds of community members who have expressed concerns about the effect short-term rentals have on their neighborhoods.

Concerns about short-term rentals center on three broader issues:

  • Negative impacts to the character of a neighborhood, including concerns with noise, parking, and increased traffic.
  • A reduction in the number of available housing units that might otherwise be available for long-term rental or possibly ownership.
  • An adverse impact on the affordability of housing within the city.

Proposal Highlights

In addressing community members’ concerns and balancing limitations of State Law, this proposal would allow only one short term rental unit per conforming, taxable parcel in residential zones. Other zones that allow or conditionally allow residential uses, such as office or commercial zones, would be allowed to operate short-term rentals.

One Per Taxable Parcel

Only one short-term rental unit would be allowed on a residential property. For example, only half of a duplex or one unit in a multi-family project could be used as a short-term rental. Similarly, on a property with a single-family home with an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), only one unit could be used as a short-term rental. In each of these scenarios, the owner would need to reside on the property.

Application Required

All new short-term rental units would require administrative approval by the city. This would create an opportunity for neighborhood notification, and the ability for staff to review each proposal for compliance with basic building and design standards. It would also create a better path for enforcement, if necessary.

Owner Occupancy

Similar to accessory dwelling units (ADUs), owner occupancy would be required for any parcel supporting a short-term rental unit. This will effectively eliminate the opportunity to purchase properties for the sole purpose of operating a commercial business in a residential neighborhood. This provision also ensures neighbors and the City have more direct contact with the property owner.

Code Compliance

To be eligible for a short-term rental, a property must be in compliance with the standards of the development code, including but not limited to parking, setbacks and open space.

Proposal Feedback

Feedback for this proposal is now closed. City of Boise staff is currently reviewing all submitted feedback. We will work with community members to determine next steps.


  1. How will this impact my existing short-term rental? 
    The proposed amendment will not impact short-term rentals in operation prior to adoption of the code.
  2. Can I use my ADU or duplex as a short-term rental?
    Yes. In the case of a duplex, the property owner will be required to reside in the other unit. For ADUs, the owner must reside in either the ADU or primary dwelling.
  3. Where would the new regulations apply? 
    These new regulations would apply to all residential zones.
  4. When will the new regulations take effect? 
    The city is in the preliminary stage of amending the development code. We are currently seeking public input before finalizing a proposal. Once a proposal is drafted, it will be scheduled for public hearings before both the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. This process takes 4-6 months and provides multiple opportunities for additional public feedback.

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