State of Delaware Short-Term Rental Regulations

Short-term rental regulations vary depending on the location and may include zoning laws, occupancy and safety standards, taxation, licensing, and insurance requirements review our guides for more information specific to your city.


Reviewed by Derick Hargrave

Last updated September 04, 2023

Overview of Delaware Short-Term Rental Regulations

Information is maintained by the community to provide helpful insights and links to local regulations, HostScouts does not provide legal or investment advice.

From beach towns to historic cities, Delaware attracts visitors looking for unique getaways. As interest in short-term rentals grows, hosts need to understand regulations before listing properties.

In this guide, I'll outline key laws, permit rules, tax obligations, and safety standards for Delaware vacation rentals. My goal is to help hosts achieve legal compliance and avoid penalties. Let's get started!

Defining Short Term Rentals in Delaware

Delaware statutes don't explicitly define short-term or vacation rentals. However, they allow municipalities to regulate these rentals based on length of stay.

For example, Rehoboth Beach defines short-term rentals as lodging offered for periods of less than 30 consecutive days. Other beach towns use weekly stays as criteria.

So, while a statewide standard doesn't exist, local ordinances establish definitions within their short-term rental laws. Check requirements for your specific area. 

Common Length of Stay Thresholds

Many Delaware towns define short-term rentals as those offered for periods less than 30 days. This typically covers:

  • Beach houses
  • Condos
  • Apartments
  • Private rooms
  • Cabins

Listings presented as weekly vacation rentals would also qualify under most local laws.

Local Ordinances Vary

With no comprehensive statewide legislation, regulations for short-term rentals depend on local municipal ordinances in Delaware.

These range from zoning rules to permits, taxes, health standards, and more. Researching both state statutes and local laws is key.

Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in Delaware

Here are key steps Delaware hosts should know when launching a new short-term rental:

Check Local Zoning

Many Delaware towns restrict short-term rentals through zoning regulations. Some prohibit them fully. Others limit them to commercial zones. Verify zoning allows rentals in your area.

Obtain Permits

Most municipalities require hosts to obtain local permits or licenses to legally operate short-term rentals. For example, Rehoboth Beach charges a $150 annual fee. Lewes requires a $100 rental license. 

Register for Taxes

You'll need to register with the Delaware Division of Revenue to collect and remit applicable state and local taxes on rentals. Handle registration and filing online for convenience.

Tax Obligations for Delaware Short-Term Rentals

You must collect and pay all relevant state, county, and city taxes as a host. Here's an overview:

State Accommodations Tax

Delaware levies an 8% accommodations tax on short-term rental transactions. This applies to total rental rates plus any cleaning or service fees paid by guests.

Hosts collect this tax at booking. You must report and pay the state monthly in most cases. 

Local Taxes

Some Delaware towns impose additional local taxes on short-term rental revenue, such as hotel taxes. 

For example, Rehoboth Beach charges a 3% hotel tax. Lewes has a 5% hotel tax. Verify any other taxes for your jurisdiction. 

Filing Deadlines

Delaware hosts must file returns and remit all state and local taxes monthly in most cases. Specific due dates depend on your filing frequency. Filings are handled online for convenience.

Health and Safety Standards for Delaware Rentals

To protect visiting guests, short-term rentals in Delaware must comply with various health, fire, and safety regulations:

Fire Safety

State law requires functional fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, escape routes, and fire code compliance. Rentals are subject to regular fire marshal inspections.

Units with pools or hot tubs have additional barriers, lighting, and signage requirements. Make safety a top priority.

Food Safety

Any food or beverages offered to guests must meet state health codes for proper storage, prep, and labeling. Limiting offerings avoids complex compliance. 

Building and Health Codes

Short-term rentals must adhere to state electrical, plumbing, egress standards, and more. Local health officials also conduct periodic housing inspections. Promptly address any identified issues.


While Delaware lacks centralized laws, local ordinances establish key regulations hosts must follow. Hosts can build successful vacation rental businesses by researching rules, getting permits, collecting taxes, and prioritizing safety.

Delaware Airbnb Regulations by City

Information is maintained by the community to provide helpful insights and links to local regulations, HostScouts does not provide legal or investment advice.

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