Chelan County's short term rental program is working through a snag. 

The short-term rental code established in 2021 did not have a requirement for a reoccurring annual fire inspection. 

Changing the code is a lengthy, involved process, which has led Chelan County Fire Marshal Stephen Rinaldi to come up with a short-term fix. 

"I will be bringing back a proposal to implement a short-term rental annual inspection fee that we will be able to charge for the inspections," said Rinaldi while appearing before County Commissioners on Tuesday. “And then we will be able to schedule those inspections, just like an annual fire inspection that we would do for any other type of occupancy." 

The inspections will be funneled through the fire code until the short-term rental code can be rewritten to include them next year, according to Rinaldi. 

He told commissioners he would draft a proposal for them to consider quickly. 

Rinaldi said about a third of short-term rental operations in Chelan County initially failed their first inspections last year, although most of them passed when they were re-inspected. 

He’s proposing to re-route the annual inspections through the fire code as an interim fix. 

"That will allow us to get back implemented, so that we can start this program back up and get the inspections going, hopefully by the end of spring, if not sooner," Rinaldi said. 

Chelan County started regulating the fast-growing short-term rental industry last year, after public complaints over a lack of action. Short-term rental properties are now required to have a permit in order to operate in the county. 

Rinaldi says the $100 fire inspection fee for short-term rentals generates a large portion of the revenue for his department. 

The short-term rental properties are run through services such as Airbnb. 

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