- City of Lawton to begin collecting occupancy tax for Short Term Rental Properties
City of Lawton to begin collecting occupancy tax for Short Term Rental Properties
September 22, 2023
Caitlin Gatlin | Communications & Marketing Manager
If you own a short-term rental property in the City of Lawton, you will be expected to start paying occupancy taxes as required by City Ordinance.
This is not a new tax. It’s being collected by other cities across Oklahoma. And beginning November 1, 2023, short-term rental property owners in the City of Lawton will have to start following suit.
A short-term rental property is defined as a rental of any residential home unit or accessory building for a short period of time – usually under 30 days for a single person or family. Examples include AirBNBs and Vrbos.
"This does not apply to apartment complexes or home rental properties," said IT Director, Judy Franco. "This occupancy tax only applies to owners who rent out spaces for less than 30 days to a single person or family.”
The push to collect the occupancy taxes is new, but the ordinance requiring it is not. In 2021, voters passed Ordinance 20-19, which increased the City of Lawton Hotel/Transient Guest Tax Ordinance to 7%. This ordinance created Article 10-12 - Hotel Tax.
“That is when we should have started collecting this occupancy tax from short term rental owners," said Franco. "But we never pursued it & its resulted in the City losing out on important tax dollars that could be put back into the community.”
To start the process of getting these occupancy taxes paid, all short-term rental property owners will need to register their properties with the City of Lawton. They are required to visit the City’s Building Division at City Hall to get started. The registration fee is $57.50 and must be renewed annually.
“It is super easy to get registered," said Franco. "We have a great team here in the Building Division that would be happy to help these owners and get in compliance.”
Failing to register and pay occupancy taxes will result in a penalty.
“We sent out notification letters to all short-term rental property owners on September 18," Franco said. "They will have until October 18th to get registered. The hard deadline though is November 1. After that date, if they are not registered to pay the occupancy tax, their City utilities for their property will be shut off.”
The requirement to pay occupancy taxes has been in place for two years. In fact, out of the 264 short term rental properties within the City of Lawton, only two have complied & pay this occupancy tax.
If you have any questions, please contact our Building Division at 580-581-3360.
We have provided reading materials to help with this process. Click here to read through the Ordinance referenced in this article, a guide to the registration process, a sample certificate of authority, and the press release that was provided to the public on September 18, 2023.