Zoning, Rules and Regulations regarding Short-term Rentals, VRBO and AirBnB are changing in the Poconos, here is a scorecard of municipalities and what they say about running a short-term rental from your vacation home or income property.
Vacation rentals and visitors on short-term stays can bring vitality to local communities. Their money goes to restaurants, shops and activities and that brings revenue and jobs to the local community. The visitors also support our communities through tax revenue such as sales tax, the hotel and hospitality tax and the income tax from hospitality workers. Short-term or vacation rentals are less than 30 days in length.
Vacation rentals can also be a nuisance as people on vacation can be boisterous and celebratory, awake at odd hours. Some municipalities (especially in the Poconos) have a long and rich tradition of supporting visitors and the associated hospitality industry, and for other municipalities, this is something new. With Blue Mountain Ski Resort and Jim Thorpe as centerpieces to the Carbon County tourism business, the county has seen individual homes used as rental homes for quite some years. With the rise of VRBO/Expedia and AirBnB, more people have been drawn to the potential income that vacation rentals bring.
Municipalities governments in Pennsylvania come in the form of cities, townships and boroughs. Each municipality has their own zoning and land use regulations and while some are fairly standard, the use of a residential home for short-term rentals is not. A 2019 court case decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court called Slice of Life, et al v. Hamilton Twp ZHB set forth the current surge in municipal regulation of short-term rentals.
Below is a list of municipalities in the Pocono Mountains and neighboring areas with an estimate as to their current position regarding the use of vacation rentals from individual homes. This is done by my ongoing survey of the market, discussions with municipal officials and website review, BUT it is by no ways official. For detailed information, please contact the municipality itself to explore both zoning requirements and any applicable Short-term Rental Ordinances.
Below you will find a red, yellow or green light as to my opinion as to the municipality’s short-term rental friendliness.
Green = Short-term rental of single family homes is approved with clear rules and regulations. Restrictions likely apply and you should be well aware of the rules and regulations.
Yellow = Short-term rental of single family homes is not yet regulated, or may be allowed informally in some zoning areas, with various restrictive clauses. It is quite possible that regulations are coming soon.
Red = Short-term rentals are not permitted, code enforcement is active.
ALBRIGHTSVILLE, PA 18210 is a post office designation and census-designated place, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Albrightsville Post Office and zip code include: Penn Forest Township, Kidder Township, Tunkhannock Township
BANKS TOWNSHIP (Treskow, PA 18254) Telephone #: (570) 454-8291 Short term rentals are permitted use within any single family dwelling in all zoning districts in Banks Township.
BARTONSVILLE, PA 18321 is a post office designation, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Bartonsville Post Office include parts of Pocono Township, Hamilton Township, Jackson Township and Stroud Township.
BEAVER MEADOWS BOROUGH (Beaver Meadows, PA 18216) Telephone #: (570) 455-7841 No rules or regulations affecting Short-Term Rentals in Beaver Meadows Borough have been published.
BLAKESLEE, PA 18610 is a post office designation, not a municipality. Much of Tobyhanna Township is served by the Blakeslee Post Office.
BOWMANSTOWN BOROUGH (Bowmanstown, PA 18030) Telephone #: (610) 852-2455 A permit is required. Rental length is not a factor for owners as long as it is rented to a single family. A short-term rental to a non-family group is treated as a hotel.
BROADHEADSVILLE, PA 18322 is a post office designation and a census-designated place, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Broadheadsville Post Office include, Polk Township and Chestnuthill Township.
BUCK TOWNSHIP (Luzerne County) Buck Township is just north of the Jack Frost Ski Resort. Much of the township consists of state gamelands. No rules or regulations affecting Short-Term Rentals in Buck Township have been published.
BUSHKILL TOWNSHIP (Northampton County) phone: 610-759-1250 No rules or regulations affecting Short-Term Rentals in Bushkill Township, Northampton County have been published.
BUSHKILL PA 18324 Bushkill (home of Bushkill Falls) with zip code 18324 is a post office designation, not a municipality. The Buskill post office serves Lehman Township in Pike County. Lehman Township has ceased issuing new STR licenses, but old licenses can be transferred with an agreement of sale.
CANADENSIS PA 18325 Canadensis is a post office designation, not a municipality. The Canadensis Post Office serves mostly Barrett Township including Skytop Lodge in Monroe County.
CLIFTON TOWNSHIP (Lackawana County) No rules or regulations affecting Short-Term Rentals in Clifton Township in the Northern Poconos have been published.
COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP (Monroe County) Coolbaugh Township is a popular STR location as the township allows for Short-term rentals in residential zoning areas with necessary permits and inspections. There are more than 800 Short-term Rental Licenses issued in the township. STR is not allowed in Commercial or Industrial zoned areas. Arrowhead Lake, Pocono Lake and other communities indicate that the practice is allowed, see Coolbaugh Township’s Short-term Rental Rules for more details.
COVINGTON TOWNSHIP (Lackawanna County) In May 2021 Covington Township approved an ordinance regulating Short-term Rentals. A permit is required and certain restrictions are defined. You can read the Short-Term Rental Ordinance for more details. Exempted is the large vacation community of Big Bass Lake.
DELAWARE TOWNSHIP (Dingman’s Ferry, Pike County) Delaware Township in Pike County has just passed a STR ordinance which allows STR ONLY in Rural Residential Zoning areas. Contact the township for more details on possible licensing requirements.
DELAWARE WATER GAP BOROUGH (Monroe County) The borough of Delaware Water Gap requires rental properties be registered, but no specific regulations are published regarding Short-term Rentals
DINGMAN TOWNSHIP (Milford, Pike County, PA) Dingman Township regulates short-term rentals. The use requires a permit and may only be done in certain zoning districts. Short-term rentals are NOT permitted in Gold Key, Sunrise, Conashaugh, Lake Adventure, Woodlands, Water Forest and other larger subdivisions.
EAST PENN TOWNSHIP (Carbon County) Zoning Office: 570-386-5735 No rules or regulations affecting Short-Term Rentals in East Penn Township have been published.
EAST SIDE BOROUGH (White Haven, Pa 18661) No rules or regulations affecting Short-Term Rentals in East Side Borough have been published. Population = 317 people.
EAST STROUDSBURG BOROUGH (Monroe County) Phone: (570) 421-8300 The Borough of East Stroudsburg enacted a short term rental ordinance in 2021. The ordinance requires licensing and a list of requirements including the use of a private trash hauler. Zoning regulations limit the licenses to Commercial and Industrial areas, properties in residential areas will need a variance. Details can be found in the East Stroudsburg STR Ordinance.
EFFORT, PA 18330 Effort is a post office designation and a census-designated place, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Effort Post Office include parts of Chestnuthill and Tunkhannock Townships in Monroe County.
ELDRED TOWNSHIP (Kunkletown, Saylorsburg, Monroe County) Short-term rentals are regulated in Eldred Township. A 2020 short-term rental ordinance specifies that vacation rentals cannot be located in the residential district or the industrial zoning district. Short-term rentals can be located in the following zoning districts: rural resource, agricultural/residential or a commercial. A Conditional Use Exception is required and requires a review by both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors and are approved or denied on a case-by-case basis. Eldred Township’s Short-term rental rules were approved in 2020.
FOSTER TOWNSHIP (White Haven and Freeland, Luzerne County, PA) Foster Township enacted an ordinance in 2016 that prohibits STR in the R-1 and R-1A Zoning District. A recent initiative to license STR in Foster Township has been tabled, so at the present time, there is no licensed required to operate a STR in Zoning Districts designated R-2, A-1, C-1 and S-1.
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP (Lehighton, PA 18235) Telephone #: (610) 377-1773 At the present time Franklin Township does not permit short-term rentals. An ordinance is being considered, but no timeline is available.
GOULDSBORO, PA 18424 Gouldsboro is a post office designation and a census-designated place, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Gouldsboro Post Office include parts of Coolbaugh Townships in Monroe County, Lehigh Township in Wayne County and parts of Clifton, Thornhurst, and Covington Townships in Lackawanna County.
GREENE TOWNSHIP (including Greentown and Promised Land State Park, Pike County) Rural Greene Township has no Zoning Ordinance and no rules and regulations regarding Short-term rentals at the present time. With no Zoning districts there is no defined use for an individual property, so due to lack of regulation, STR can be conducted in any type of building in Greene Township.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP(Monroe County, including Snydersville, Sciota, Saylorsburg, Cherry Valley) Short-term rentals are not allowed in Hamilton Township. Any property in a designated “A” zoning area is strictly prohibited from rentals. Use of C-1 zoning (commercial) property for short-term rentals should apply for an approved use as a hotel/motel which requires a variance granted by the zoning board.
HENRYVILLE, PA 18332 is a post office designation, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Henryville Post Office include: Paradise Township and Pocono Township
JIM THORPE BOROUGH (Jim Thorpe, PA 18229) Telephone #: (570) 325-3025 The borough of Jim Thorpe’s Short-term Rental ordinance was adopted in 2021. STR properties have certain requirements, require a permit and rules will be enforced by borough Code Enforcement. The local newspaper reports of an amendment where existing rentals will be “grandfathered in” and new rentals will be restricted to the C1, C2, C3, R4 and special zoning districts. Owners hoping to open a short-term rental outside of those zones would need to receive a variance.
KIDDER TOWNSHIP (Lake Harmony, PA 18624) Telephone #: (570) 722-0107 Home to the Big Two, Jack Frost and Big Boulder Ski Resorts. Short-term rentals are allowed in Kidder Township, a permit is needed. An annual inspection is also required. Revisions to Kidder Township’s STR Ordinance have been adopted making it much more expensive for homeowners.
LACKAWAXEN TOWNSHIP (Hawley, Pike Township, PA) In April 2021, Lackawaxen Township adopted a Short-term Rental Ordinance that provides licenses for properties that includes guidelines on occupancy, parking and the presence of a local manager/contact.
LANSFORD BOROUGH (Lansford, PA 18232) Telephone #: (570) 645-3900 Short-term rentals are allowed in Lansford. Owners are required to get a Residential Rental License (RRL) and submit to the borough office. The annual cost of an RRL is $100.00 (billed to the owner every March and due by April 1st each year) and requires an inspection by the borough’s Zoning Officer. Inspections occur every 2 years.
LAUSANNE TOWNSHIP (Weatherly, PA 18255) Telephone #: (570) 427-4029 No rules or regulations affecting Short-Term Rentals in Lausanne Township have been published.
LEHIGH TOWNSHIP (Carbon County, Weatherly, PA 18255) Telephone #: (570) 427-4950 Lehigh Township has an Ordinance that provides a special exception for Bed & Breakfast (3 Units) or a Boarding House (Limit of 4 Persons) in the R-2 Zoning District. For Short-term rentals from a home, there is no ordinance therefore a variance would be needed in all zoning districts. No variances for short-term rental use of a single family home have been issued in Lehigh Township.
LEHIGH TOWNSHIP (Wayne County, Gouldsboro, PA 18424) Telephone #: (570) 842-6262 According to local realtors, Lehigh Township in Wayne County is considering regulations to limit STR in their small township.
LEHMAN TOWNSHIP (Bushkill, Pike County) Zoning regulations have become more restrictive to Short-term rentals in Lehman Township in Pike County, there have been several amendments to the Lehman Township STR Ordinance and NO NEW LICENSES are being issued. Properties with existing licenses can continue to operate STR under new owners if the previous owners provide a “Certificate of Non-Conformity” issued from the township (before closing.) The new owner can then apply to have that license reissued under the new owner’s name. No new STR licenses are being issued in Lehman Township.
LONG POND, PA 18334 is a post office designation, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Long Pond Post Office include: Tobyhanna Township, Tunkhannock Township
LOWER MOUNT BETHEL TOWNSHIP (Martins Creek, Northampton County, PA> phone#610-252-5074 No information on rules or regulations for Short-term Rentals in Lower Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County has been published.
MAHONING TOWNSHIP (Lehighton, PA 18235) Telephone #: (570) 386-4002 Short-Term Rentals in single-family residences in Mahoning Township are not allowed at this time. If an owner wanted to operate a business from their home, they would need a variance. Due to the possibility of multi-families in a short-term rental, the property would have to be regulated as a boarding house. According to the local newspaper, Mahoning Towship is considering a Short-Term Rental ordinance. Latest update is that the issue will be raised in 2022 once a new board of supervisors is seated.
MARSHALLS CREEK, PA 18335 Marshalls Creek is a post office designation, not a municipality. Much of Smithfield Township in Monroe County is served by the Marshalls Creek Post Office.
MOORE TOWNSHIP (Northampton County) Phone# 610-759-9449 No information on rules or regulations for Short-term Rentals in Moore Township, Northampton County is published. There have been discussions about zoning changes to allow STR in village center district and industrial district as permitted uses, ordinance to then follow.
MOUNT POCONO BOROUGH (Monroe County) Short-term rentals are only allowed in R-2, C-1 and C-2 zoning districts, not in R-1 zoning. If the home is in R-2, it must also be on a lot that is 0.5 acres or larger. We hear that zoning ordinances are being strictly enforced.
MOUNTAINHOME, PA 18342 is a census-designated place in Barrett Township.
NESQUEHONING BOROUGH (Nesquehoning, PA 18240) Telephone #: (570) 669-9588 Short-term rentals require a special exception permit which can only be approved after review by the Borough Planning Commission. A special exception would then be granted by the Zoning Hearing board
NORTH WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP (Lehigh County) Short-term rentals are not allowed in SR Zoning areas in North Whitehall Township. Short-term rentals of shorter than 14 days could possibly operate in CR Zoning with a special exception. An ordinance exists for inns, operating in buildings built before 1940, otherwise a variance for zoning will be needed.
PACKER TOWNSHIP (Weatherly, PA 18255) Telephone #: (570) 427-8969 A Public Hearing on the issue of zoning regulations for Short-Term Rentals in Packer Township was held and a wide ranging update to the Packer Township Zoning Ordinance meaning that regulations may be forthcoming.
PALMERTON BOROUGH (Palmerton, PA 18071) Telephone #: (610) 826-2505 Short-term rentals in Palmerton are not included in the existing zoning regulations. Legal operation of a STR would require a special use exception from the Borough for a variance from the existing property zoning use.
PALMYRA TOWNSHIP (Wayne County) Just to the west of Palmyra Township in Pike County is Palmyra Township in Wayne County, a separate municipality. No ordinances have been passed regarding Short-term Rental in Palmyra Township Wayne County.
PARADISE TOWNSHIP (Monroe County, including Henryville, Mt. Airy Resort & Casino) Short-term rentals in Paradise Township require a permit. An inspection is required, occupancy limited to 2 persons per bedroom and sufficient parking off-street must be provided. In early 2022 the township adopted a zoning district requirements, which will allow STR only in the Business Districts (B-1 and B-2) also known as Resort Development Districts.
PARRYVILLE BOROUGH (Parryville, PA 18244) Telephone #: (610) 852-380br> No rules or regulations affecting Short-Term Rentals in Parryville Borough have been published.
PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP (Bath, Northampton County, PA) phone# (610) 759-6944 No information on rules or regulations for Short-term Rentals in Plainfield Township, Northampton County has been published.
POCONO LAKE, PA, 18347 is a post office designation, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Pocono Lake Post Office include: Tobyhanna Township, Coolbaugh Township
POCONO SUMMIT, PA, 18346 is a post office designation, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Pocono Lake Post Office include: Tobyhanna Township, Coolbaugh Township
POCONO PINES, PA, 18350 is a post office designation and a census-designated place, not a municipality.. The area includes Lake Naomi and Pinecrest Lake Municipalities served by the Pocono Pines Post Office include: Tobyhanna Township
POCONO TOWNSHIP (Monroe County, including Tannersville, Swiftwater, Scotrun) Short-term rentals or Transient Dwelling Units as they are referred to as in Pocono Township are not allowed in R-1 and R-2 zoning areas in Pocono Township. Short term rentals are only allowed in C (Commercial) zones and RD (Recreational District) zones. An initial change of use permit under zoning and an annual license is required for a Transient Dwelling Unit Permit
POLK TOWNSHIP (Monroe County, including Broadheadsville, Kresgeville) Short-term rentals in Polk Township are only allowed on properties bigger than 1 acre, require a permit and there are additional restrictions on the property. Polk Township has a stand-alone Short-term Rental Ordinance, not a zoning regulation. See Polk Township’s STR Ordinance.
PRICE TOWNSHIP (Monroe County) (570) 421-2497 Price Township does not currently have restrictions concerning any type of short term rentals.
ROSS TOWNSHIP (Broadheadsville, Saylorsburg, Monroe County) Ross enacted a short-term rental ordinance in July, 2020 which allows vacation rental in properties located in general commercial and village commercial zoning.
SAYLORSBURG, PA, 18353 is a post office designation and a census-designated place, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Saylorsburg Post Office include: Hamilton Township and Ross Township.
SCOTRUN, PA 18355 is a post office designation, not a municipality. The Scotrun Post Office/Zip code covers mostly Pocono Township.
SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP (Monroe County including Shawnee, Marshall’s Creek) Short-term rentals in Smithfield Township are only allowed in areas zoned as resort (R-E) Zoning District which is essentially Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort and an undeveloped parcel adjacent to Marshall Lake. See the Smithfield Township Zoning Map
STROUD TOWNSHIP (Monroe County, including Bartonsville, Analomink) STR s permitted only in the C-3 Zoning District of Stroud Township, with exceptions made for the Penn Estates and Blue Mountain Lakes communities Short-term rental permits in Stroud Township require inspections and properties must meet certain guidelines.
STROUDSBURG BOROUGH (Monroe County) The borough of Stroudsburg has implemented a new Short-term Rental Ordinance and refined zoning regulations to prohibit short term rentals in residential districts (R-1, R-2 and R-3) and allow it in all other zoning districts. A license and annual inspection is required, detail under Housing
SUMMIT HILL BOROUGH (Summit Hill, PA 18250) Telephone #: (570) 645-2305 No rules or regulations affecting Short-Term Rentals in Summit Hill Borough have been published.
TAMAQUA BOROUGH (Schuylkill County) Tamaqua has no ordinance specific to Short-term Rentals, they consider a whole house rental under the borough’s current rental regulations. One day or one year, same rules. All homes being rented in Tamaqua must be registered and be inspected.
TANNERSVILLE, PA 18372 is a post office designation, not a municipality. Municipalities served by the Tannersville Post Office include: Jackson Township, Pocono Township
THORNHURST TOWNSHIP(Lackawanna County) Located just north of Arrowhead Lake, in the southern-most part of the Lackawanna County, Thornhurst Township adopted a Short-term Rental Ordinance in 2020. A license and annual inspection are required. Regulations require a local representative be available, parking on-property and limits of 2 people per bedroom and additional occupancy requirements.
TOBYHANNA TOWNSHIP(Monroe County, including Pocono Pines, Pocono Lake, Blakeslee) In the Township of Tobyhanna, Short-Term Rental regulation is still under discussion and multiple public hearings have been held to discuss the draft ordinance. The township says it is looking to craft a responsible ordinance and while they do, no enforcement is taking place. See Tobyhanna Short-Term Rental Discussion on. The next hearing on the draft ordinance is scheduled for June, check the local news for the latest updates on the Tobyhanna Township Draft STR Ordinance.
TOWAMENSING TOWNSHIP (Lehighton, PA 18235) Telephone #: (610) 681-4202 A Short-term Rental Ordinance was adopted by Towamensing Township late in 2020. It provides a long list of rules and regulations that the owner and any of their guest must abide by. A license is required, properties are subject to inspection by Code Enforcement. The requirements include an indoor sprinkler system for fire safety.
UPPER MOUNT BETHEL TOWNSHIP (Northampton County) phone# 570-897-6127 No information on rules or regulations for Short-term Rentals in Upper Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County.
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP (Lehigh County) Washington Township is largely silent on the issue. Zoning regulations date back to 1974 and have no designation for short-term rentals. Washington Township has no licensing for residential rental properties and at the present time, no motivation to change things.
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP (Bangor, Northampton County, PA) Zoning Offie 610-759-8227 No information on rules or regulations for Short-term Rentals in Washington Township, Northampton County has been published.
WEATHERLY BOROUGH (Weatherly, PA 18255) Telephone #: (570) 427-8640 No information about Short-Term Rentals in Weatherly Borough is available at this time.
WEST PENN TOWNSHIP (Schuylkill County) No information on rules or regulations for Short-term Rentals in West Penn Township, Schuylkill County has been published.
This is an informal list that is subject to change as local ordinances and codes frequently change. Anyone interested in using a home as a rental property should always check with the local municipality to see if local zoning allows this use or if permits are required.
If you are wondering why municipalities in Pennsylvania can regulate Short-Term Rentals, you can refer to the 2019 court case called “Slice of Life, LLC v. Hamilton Township Zoning Hearing Board” in which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the ruling that a local zoning ordinance clearly and unambiguously excluded purely transient uses of property.
Published by markshayrealtor
I believe helping you find a home is all about the fit, finding a home that fits your needs today, and sets you up for years of happiness in the future. I walk my customers through the many steps needed to find the right fit.
I found my way to Carbon County looking for the perfect vacation home. I purchased a nice sized tract of land near Blue Mountain Ski Resort, then built a home and continue to develop the land. I think of the area as both a great place to live and a great place to vacation. In addition to serving the area in and around Carbon County, my specialties are purchasing a second home in the mountains, selling homes to vacationers and investing in properties that are attractive to vacationers.
Contact me if you are a longtime Carbon County resident looking to sell, or if you are coming from out of town and looking to buy. Carbon County and the Southern Pocono Mountains is a great place to live, work and play.
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