Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania

Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania

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What are Short-Term Rental (Airbnb, VRBO) Regulations in Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania?

Short-term rentals (STRs) through platforms like Airbnb and VRBO have become increasingly popular in the Pocono Mountains region of Pennsylvania, including in Pocono Summit. However, regulations around STRs vary by municipality. It's important for property owners to understand the specific rules in their area before starting a short-term rental business.

Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in Pocono Summit

Pocono Summit is located in Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County. According to Coolbaugh Township's website, short-term rentals are allowed but require a permit. The township has a specific Short-Term Rental ordinance that outlines the requirements.

To obtain a short-term rental permit in Coolbaugh Township:

  • Obtain a Pennsylvania Sales and Use Tax license
  • Obtain a Monroe County Hotel Excise Tax certificate
  • Apply for the Coolbaugh Township Short-Term Rental permit
  • Pass a township inspection to ensure the property meets safety requirements

Coolbaugh's occupancy rules allow 2 guests per bedroom plus an additional 4 guests total, with no maximum limit. For example, a 3 bedroom home could host up to 10 guests (6 based on bedrooms plus 4 extra). A 5 bedroom could host 14 total.

Some of the communities and HOAs located in Coolbaugh that you may encounter when looking for an STR property include:

  1. Stillwater Lakes Civic Association
  2. Stillwater Estates
  3. Arrowhead Lakes
  4. Pocono Country Place
  5. Pocono Farms
  6. Pocono Farms East

However, even if a property is in an STR-friendly township, the community's HOA rules may still prohibit or restrict rentals. It's important to check both municipal and HOA regulations.

Anecdotally, some Pocono STR owners on Reddit have reported that the market has become very saturated in recent years as more people have bought homes to use as short-term rentals. This has made it more difficult to get bookings.

Additionally, there has been some community backlash against the growth in STRs. Some townships have started to clamp down with new fees and requirements in response to complaints from residents about noise, parking issues, etc.

One Bigger Pockets user advised:

"Be mindful that any more than 5 bedrooms still only allows a max of 10 [guests in Tobyhanna Township]. Getting your Tobyhanna STR Permit To obtain your Tobyhanna permit, you'll need to obtain PA Sales and use tax, Monroe County excise tax, and then you can apply for the Tobyhanna Township permit."

In summary, while it is possible to operate a short-term rental in Pocono Summit with the proper permits and by following regulations, potential investors should carefully weigh the current market conditions, understand all municipal and HOA rules that apply to a specific property, and be prepared to address potential concerns from neighbors. Consulting with a local realtor experienced with STRs may help navigate the process.

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Pocono Summit

To legally operate a short-term rental in Pocono Summit, which is located in Coolbaugh Township, property owners must obtain a Short-Term Rental License from the township. Here are the key requirements based on information from the township's official website:

1. Obtain a Pennsylvania Sales and Use Tax License from the state

2. Obtain a Monroe County Hotel Excise Tax Certificate

3. Complete the Coolbaugh Township Short-Term Rental License Application, which includes:

  1. Property owner information
  2. 24/7 contact person who can respond to issues
  3. Parking plan showing all available parking spaces
  4. Trespass waiver allowing township officials to enter if issues arise
  5. Proof of insurance
  6. Copy of state tax license and county hotel tax certificate

4. Pay the license fee:

  1. Initial license application fee: $200
  2. Annual renewal fee: $150

5. Pass a township safety inspection, which checks for:

  1. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  2. Fire extinguisher
  3. Marked exits and evacuation plans
  4. Adequate lighting, railings, etc.

The initial license application typically takes up to 30 days to process once all documentation is submitted. Renewal applications should be submitted at least 30 days before the current license expires.

Completed applications and fees should be submitted to:

Coolbaugh Township
5550 Memorial Blvd.
Tobyhanna, PA 18466

Penalties for operating without a short-term rental license in Coolbaugh Township include:

  1. Fines of up to $1,000 per day of violation. Each day is considered a separate offense.
  2. If the township is forced to go to court, the STR owner is liable for all court costs and reasonable attorney fees.
  3. Three violations in a 12-month period will result in the STR license being revoked for one year.
  4. Four or more violations can lead to the STR license being permanently revoked.

The township also reserves the right to seek an injunction to stop the continued operation of an unlicensed short-term rental.

Required Documents for Pocono Summit Short-Term Rentals

To obtain a short-term rental license in Pocono Summit (Coolbaugh Township), property owners must submit the following documents:

  1. Pennsylvania Sales and Use Tax License: This license is required by the state for collecting and remitting sales tax on short-term rental income. It can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
  2. Monroe County Hotel Room Rental Excise Tax Certificate: This certificate is needed to collect and remit the 3% county hotel tax on short-term rentals. It is issued by the Monroe County Treasurer's office.
  3. Completed Coolbaugh Township Short-Term Rental License Application: The application collects information about the property owner, rental unit details, parking, occupancy, and more. It is available on the township website.
  4. Proof of Insurance: Applicants must provide a certificate of insurance showing a minimum of $500,000 in rental liability coverage for the property.
  5. Trespass Waiver: This signed document grants township officials permission to enter the property to address any issues that may arise with the short-term rental.
  6. Parking Plan: A diagram or photograph showing the number and location of available on-site parking spaces for guests.
  7. Septic System Information (if applicable): For properties not on a central sewer system, details about the location, age, and capacity of the septic system must be provided.

These documents, along with the applicable fees, must be submitted to the Coolbaugh Township office for review and approval before a short-term rental license will be issued. The license must be renewed annually.

Pocono Summit Short-Term Rental Taxes

Short-term rental owners in Pocono Summit, which is located in Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, are subject to several state and local taxes:

  1. Pennsylvania Hotel Occupancy Tax: The state charges a 6% hotel occupancy tax on the rental price, including any cleaning fees, for stays of 29 nights or less. This tax is collected by Airbnb and remitted to the state on behalf of hosts.
  2. Pennsylvania Sales Tax: The state also imposes a 1% local sales tax on short-term rentals of 29 nights or less. Like the hotel occupancy tax, Airbnb collects and remits this tax for bookings made through their platform.
  3. Monroe County Hotel Excise Tax: Monroe County levies a 3% hotel excise tax on all short-term rentals. Hosts must register with the county treasurer's office to receive a Hotel Excise Tax Certificate. Airbnb collects and remits this tax for reservations made through them, but hosts must still file a quarterly return with the county showing gross receipts.

So in total, short-term rentals in Pocono Summit are subject to a 10% tax rate (6% state hotel occupancy tax + 1% state sales tax + 3% Monroe County hotel excise tax). It's important for hosts to understand their tax obligations, register with the proper authorities, and ensure taxes are being collected and remitted even if using a platform like Airbnb.

Potential Tax Deductions

Short-term rental hosts may be able to deduct certain expenses from their rental income to reduce their tax liability. Some common deductible expenses include:

  1. Mortgage interest and property taxes
  2. Rental commissions and booking fees
  3. Cleaning and maintenance costs
  4. Utilities
  5. Insurance
  6. Repairs
  7. Supplies for guests
  8. Depreciation of the rental property and furnishings

Hosts should keep detailed records and receipts for all rental-related expenses. It's advisable to consult with a tax professional to determine which deductions apply to your specific situation and how to properly report your rental income and expenses.

Pennsylvania Wide Short-Term Rental Rules

While Pennsylvania does not have comprehensive state-wide laws specifically regulating short-term rentals, there are a few key rules that Pocono Summit hosts need to be aware of, particularly related to taxes.

  • Hotel Occupancy Tax: Pennsylvania charges a 6% hotel occupancy tax on stays shorter than 30 days. This tax applies to short-term rentals like those listed on Airbnb and Vrbo. Hosts are required to collect this tax from guests and remit it to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
  • Sales Tax: In addition to the hotel occupancy tax, Pennsylvania also levies a 1% local sales tax on short-term rentals under 30 days. Like the occupancy tax, hosts are responsible for collecting and remitting this tax.
  • Registering for Taxes: Before collecting these taxes, short-term rental operators must register with the Department of Revenue for a Sales, Use, and Hotel Occupancy Tax License. This can be done through the Pennsylvania Online Business Tax registration at
  • Tax Remittance: After registering and obtaining a tax license and account number, hosts must file returns and pay the collected taxes electronically using the state's myPATH system.
  • Income Reporting: Income earned from short-term rentals is separate from the occupancy and sales taxes. Rental income should be reported on the Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business or Profession).

It's important to note that in addition to these state-level tax requirements, Pocono Summit short-term rental hosts may be subject to additional taxes and regulations at the county and municipal levels. For example, Monroe County, where Pocono Summit is located, charges a 3% hotel excise tax on top of the state taxes.

So while Pennsylvania may not have extensive state-wide laws governing every aspect of short-term rentals, hosts still have important tax obligations they must follow. Failing to comply with these requirements can result in penalties and legal issues. Pocono Summit hosts should be sure to research any additional local rules that apply to them beyond these state-wide tax provisions.

Does Pocono Summit Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions from Pocono area property owners on Reddit and Bigger Pockets, it appears that Pocono Summit and the surrounding municipalities are becoming increasingly strict about enforcing short-term rental regulations.

Several owners reported that Coolbaugh Township, where Pocono Summit is located, has hired a third-party company specifically to identify unregistered STRs, ensure compliance with occupancy limits and other rules, and issue fines to non-compliant owners. The township's website confirms they require all STRs to be licensed and renew annually or face penalties of up to $1,000 per day.

One Reddit user commented: "In the area where I live you have to deal with / pay the county, deal with / pay the township, deal with / pay the community association, deal with / pay the management company, and deal with your neighbors that hate what you are doing."

Another mentioned that some townships now require an STR owner or manager to be located within 30 minutes of the property in order to quickly address any issues. There were also reports of growing backlash from full-time residents who are frustrated with the influx of STRs and vacationers.

So while Pocono Summit and the Poconos in general have historically been popular for vacation rentals, the current regulatory environment is becoming much less Airbnb-friendly compared to the past. Townships appear to be cracking down on rule-breakers.

This doesn't necessarily mean STR is impossible in the area, but hosts should be prepared to fully comply with all licensing, tax, and operational requirements. Attempting to fly under the radar is increasingly risky. As one Bigger Pockets user put it: "You really have to do your homework before investing. IMHO any township or municipality that does not have ordinances in place today will do so in the future because there is a new income stream for them."

In summary, Pocono Summit and its neighboring communities seem to be shifting from a very STR-friendly market to one with strict enforcement and escalating tensions around short-term rentals. Hosts should proceed with caution and be meticulous about following all municipal and HOA rules to avoid fines and headaches.

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in Pocono Summit

Starting a short-term rental (STR) business in Pocono Summit, located in Coolbaugh Township, requires careful planning and compliance with local regulations. Here are the key steps to get started:

1. Research zoning and regulations:

  • Review Coolbaugh Township's Short-Term Rental ordinance to ensure your property is in an allowed zone for STRs.
  • If part of an HOA, check their rules as well. Some communities prohibit or restrict STRs.
  • Understand occupancy limits (2 per bedroom + 4 additional guests), parking requirements, and other operational rules.

2. Obtain required licenses and permits:

  • Apply for a Pennsylvania Sales and Use Tax License.
  • Obtain a Monroe County Hotel Excise Tax Certificate.
  • Complete Coolbaugh Township's STR License application, including proof of insurance, parking plan, local contact info, and more.
  • Pay initial application fee of $200.
  • Schedule and pass township safety inspection.

3. Prepare your property:

  • Ensure your rental meets all safety requirements (smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, etc.).
  • Furnish and equip the property for guest comfort and positive reviews.
  • Consider your target market when decorating and amenitizing.
  • Create a comprehensive house manual with key info and local recommendations.

4. Create a pricing and marketing strategy:

  • Research comparable STRs in the area to determine competitive nightly rates.
  • List your property on popular platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo.
  • Invest in high-quality photos and an enticing description to stand out.
  • Consider offering special rates or packages during slower seasons.

5. Automate and systematize operations:

  • Utilize tools like smart locks, noise monitors, and scheduling software to streamline management.
  • Develop standardized cleaning procedures and train your turnover team.
  • Have a reliable 24/7 contact to handle any guest issues promptly per township rules.
  • Stay organized with taxes by carefully tracking all income and expenses.

Some additional tips for success:

  • Be responsive to inquiries and prioritize guest communication before and during stays.
  • Encourage satisfied guests to leave reviews to build your listing's credibility.
  • Optimize your pricing regularly based on demand, special events, etc.
  • Build strong relationships with reliable cleaners and maintenance professionals.
  • Stay up to date on any changes to local STR regulations.
  • Consider hiring an experienced STR manager if you need help navigating the process.

While the Pocono Summit STR market has become more competitive and regulated in recent years, a well-run rental in a desirable location can still be a successful venture. Focus on compliance, guest experience, and adaptability to stand out in this evolving industry.

Who to Contact in Pocono Summit about Short-Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

For questions about short-term rental regulations, licensing, and zoning in Pocono Summit (Coolbaugh Township), contact:

Coolbaugh Township
5550 Memorial Blvd.
Tobyhanna, PA 18466
Phone: (570) 894-8490
Fax: (570) 894-8413

Short-Term Rental Questions:

You can also reach out directly to township supervisors:

  • William Weimer, Chairman
  • Clare Colgan, Vice-Chairman
  • Lynn Kelly, Supervisor
  • Alma I. Ruiz-Smith, Supervisor
  • Joseph Rogan, Supervisor

For general zoning questions, contact the Coolbaugh Township Zoning Officer:

Tomas Keane
(570) 894-8490 ext. 1

Some local groups and forums that may be helpful for Pocono Summit short-term rental hosts:

Poconos Association of Vacation Rental Owners (Poconos VRO)
A regional association advocating for fair short-term rental regulations.
Contact: Ricky Cortez, Executive Director

Pocono Mountains Vacation Rental Owners and Managers (Facebook Group)
A community forum to discuss issues impacting vacation rentals in the Poconos.

Pocono Mountains Short-Term Rental Alliance (Facebook Group)
Another group for Pocono STR owners to share information and resources.

Staying connected with local officials and plugged into regional host communities can help Pocono Summit short-term rental owners stay informed about evolving regulations and advocate for their business interests. Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Pocono Summit on Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think about Local Regulations?

Based on discussions from Pocono area short-term rental owners on Reddit and Bigger Pockets, it's clear that many are feeling the impact of increasing regulations and community backlash against STRs:

On Reddit, u/Poconovegan shared that their township has "hired a 3rd party company to actively seek out non-registered and non-compliant (for instance more guests than the house septic can process) short-term rentals and shut them down. This company also takes resident complaints and works with Airbnb, etc., and the HOA security/local police to shut down party houses."

They went on to say "Locals are getting more hostile toward short term renters who are only interested in profit or lower mortgage and make the neighborhood deal with the fallout...I would expect increasing difficulty and fees from cities and HOAs and increased hostility from neighbors."

Another Redditor, u/Poconos_STR_Realtor, commented that "Townships/municipalities are starting to crack down on Airbnb/short-term rentals either to address problems or as a source of revenue." They predict that "any township or municipality that does not have ordinances in place today will do so in the future because there is a new income stream for them."

On Bigger Pockets, a user researching STRs in the Poconos was advised: "You really have to do your homework before investing. IMHO any township or municipality that does not have ordinances in place today will do so in the future because there is a new income stream for them."

A Redditor shared their personal experience as an STR owner, saying "In the area where I live you have to deal with / pay the county, deal with / pay the township, deal with / pay the community association, deal with / pay the management company, and deal with your neighbors that hate what you are doing."

Another mentioned that "some townships are requiring someone (either owner or manager) to be no further then 30 minutes from the property" in order to quickly address issues. This can make remote management challenging.

The general sentiment seems to be that owning and operating a short-term rental in the Pocono Summit area is becoming increasingly complex and costly due to new municipal ordinances, permit requirements, fees, and community opposition. Hosts are having to jump through more hoops with townships, HOAs, and management companies. Many locals are pushing back against the proliferation of STRs. Prospective investors are being cautioned to thoroughly research all applicable regulations before buying a property to use as a short-term rental.

Disclaimer: While we here at BNBCalc strive to keep all of our city regulation guides updated and accurate with all the latest local laws, we still do not suggest using them as your sole or primary source for local regulations. We also do not recommend you rely on the third-party sources we link to or reference, and we are not responsible for any of the information on these third-party sites. These guides are for entertainment purposes only and only provide basic information and should not be considered as legal advice.

We highly recommend directly contacting the responsible parties for each city and hearing what their officials have to say. Ultimately, it's your responsibility as an investor to ensure you fully comply with the local laws, and it's best to speak with professionals before making an investment decision.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.