Residential Rental Permits

All residential rental properties (including short term rentals, such as Airbnb) must be registered with the City of Cedar Falls and have a current rental permit prior to rental occupancy. Rental permits are not transferable to a new owner. Fill out this application if you are registering a new rental, registering an existing rental that is under new ownership, or are requesting an increase in rental occupancy for an existing rental. The application will be reviewed to determine the occupancy limit of the dwelling unit(s) on the property based on a number of factors, including compliance with zoning and building codes, size of the property, size of the unit(s), configuration of the space within the dwelling, number of legal bedrooms, available on and off-street parking, etc. 
The City will inspect the exterior of the property to identify issues that need to be addressed to meet City standards. A walk-through of the interior of the dwelling may be required to determine occupancy, at the discretion of the City. The occupancy will be determined by the Group Rental Committee (GRC) or may require referral to the Board of Rental Housing Appeals (BORHA) based on the specific characteristics of the property. Please note there is no guarantee that the occupancy will remain the same at property transfer. Occupancy limits determined by this process do not apply to individuals under the age of 18. You will be notified once the occupancy of the dwelling unit(s) have been determined, along with a list of any known maintenance items or code violations that must be addressed prior to issuance of a rental permit. Decisions of the GRC may be appealed to the BORHA. A rental inspector will schedule a full inspection following the determination of occupancy.


Group rental applications are reviewed by a staff committee that meets the 1st and 3rd  Tuesdays each month. Applications for a group rental received by noon on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at Public Safety will be scheduled for the next committee meeting. Application for a group rental is made by completing the New Rental / Change of Ownership Application. The following items and information must be attached to the completed application:
  • Rental fee
  • Pictures of the interior and exterior of the property (jpeg or tif)
  • Detailed interior floor plan (including dimensions of each room)
  • Detailed property sketch including aspects such as:
    • Showing locations of: house, driveway, attached structures, etc.
    • Labeling surfaces: gravel, paved, etc.
    • Dimensioning house and driveway, including noting distance from lot lines
  • Indication of the maximum level of occupancy desired:

Evaluation of Occupancy

The Group Rental Committee evaluates requests on the merits of the property and the structure’s carrying capacity. The ordinance identifies seven areas to consider (it does not require that all be met, rather it is a balance of the degree to which they are met or not that impacts the decision regarding the level of occupancy). For a copy of the ordinance changes click here. Following is a summary of those areas and some of the aspects that would be evaluated in the staff report provided to the committee.
  • Impact to character of the neighborhood (density, vehicles)
    • What is the capacity of the house/lot for the level of occupancy desired?
    • Have bedrooms been added from the original structure, with the goal of expanding the use beyond the appropriate capacity?
    • What is the level of rental and owner-occupied housing within the block or other nearby areas?
    • Would there be spillover parking from the requested level of occupancy and where would that occur?
    • What other impacts might the neighborhood experience?
    • Compliance with the International Property Maintenance Code
      • Evaluation of the level of property maintenance and if improvements are needed
      • Sufficient lot size (width, area)
        • Is the lot 70’ wide and 8,000 square feet, at a minimum?
        • Are zoning requirements met?
        • Provides adequate off-street parking (1 per bedroom)
          • Parking location, screening, etc. meets current City codes
          • Adequate public infrastructure
            • Are there known sanitary sewer issues?
            • Are there known flooding or stormwater issues?
            • Buffering of parking
            • Compliance record for property or others under the same ownership
If you have questions please feel free to contact the Rental Housing Department at (319) 273-8697 or Planning and Community Services Division at 319-273-8600.