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new regulation hits the flathead: permitting reaches short term vacation rentals


Have you received on of these!? Or one like it from Flathead County or another municipality regarding permitting of your short term rental property that you may have listed on sites like VRBO and Airbnb?  You may have heard about recent legislation or ordinances regarding short term or vacation rentals but have not researched how to navigate the sometimes cumbersome permitting processes.  We can help! Take a look at the following article or give us a call with any questions you may have or help that you need with the process.

Regulation. Regulation. Regulation... Regardless of your political views, it can be frustrating when the government imposes new legislation and rules that result in the requirement to permit something that previously required none. It typically feels like government over-reach and the usual public grumblings boil up.
However, the fundamental shift that the VRBO market is going through is a change from a residential issue to a commercial one, and that changes everything.  Residential leasing (for more than 30 days) is done under "as-is" or no warranty ideology just like buying a used car.  Private landlords are not required to bring a dwelling up to new building and safety codes beyond those that the dwelling was constructed under.  Management Companies are licensed by the Montana Board of Realty Regulation and have a higher standard of building code and life-safety compliance, but those rules are far from those of a Marriott.

When the word "commercial" comes into play, we all know that public safety becomes a large factor. Short term / vacation rentals are in fact businesses similar to bed and breakfast establishments or even motels.  The public renting short term rentals is now making assumptions on safety and quality and they must be protected from themselves sometimes.
Where I am going with all of this is to help owners understand that this kind of regulation and permitting is a good thing!  The customers of these products demand a high standard of safety and sanitation.  The rules, though new and untested, are a good idea!  They protect the environment, the neighbors, and ultimately the safety of a tenant with regard to egress, fire, police response, trips, falls, and general health.
The permitting process can be long and costly, but you are not alone.  Feel free to reach out to Frontier West Property Management with any questions or help needed, and remember that the rules are there for good reason and protect both the customer and the landowner.

Published on 12/17/2018 (4 years 292 days ago) Blog


Frontier West Properties is a fully-licensed and insured property management company serving the Flathead Valley.
We are proud to support the commercial, residential, HOA, and property maintenance needs of our customers in Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, Whitefish, Somers, and Lakeside.
For more information, call (406) 371-9423 or visit our website at