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Public Facility Rental and Use

This page provides examples of local government policies and forms for the rental and use of public facilities in Washington State, including community centers, parks, and meeting rooms.


Overview

Many jurisdictions have established policies for the use of public facilities by private individuals, companies, or nonprofit organizations. These policies typically address topics such as (but not limited to):

  • Rental rates, often including discounts for residents or nonprofits
  • Scheduling, changes, and cancellation
  • Deposits and payment
  • Liability and insurance requirements
  • Parking and noise
  • Prohibited activities, such as religious, political, or commercial uses
  • Food and drinks, including catering and alcohol use
  • Pets and service animals
  • Facility cleanup

A public agency should generally receive some sort of compensation for the use of its facilities to avoid an improper gift of public funds. At a minimum, the fee or rental charge should at least cover the cost of operating the facility for the event (maintenance, utilities, staffing, etc.).

Many jurisdictions charge lower fees for residents, since residents support the facilities through taxes. (See Clarkston v. Asotin County Rural Library Board, 18 Wn. App. 869 (1977)). Many jurisdictions also charge reduced rates to registered nonprofit organizations. Similarly situated individuals and groups should be treated the same, so that no entity receives unfair or preferential treatment.


General Facility Rental Policies and Applications

Examples of public facility rentals are widely available online, since many jurisdictions have set up online reservation systems. Below are just a few selected examples, including rental policies, application forms, and related documents.


Meeting Rooms

Below are examples of policies and forms for meeting rooms such as those found in city halls, libraries, or other public buildings.


Community Centers

Below are examples of policies and forms for community centers.


Large Events

Below are examples of rental policies and agreements for larger facilities intended for weddings, conferences, banquets, and other large events.


Park and Recreation Facilities

Below are examples of policies and forms for park and recreation facilities. (For athletic and sporting rentals, see the next section.)


Athletic Fields

Below are examples of policies and forms for formal or informal use of sporting and athletic facilities.


Insurance and Alcohol Policies

Insurance and alcohol policies are usually addressed within the main public facility rental policy or agreement, but sometimes they are addressed through separate policies.


Use by Nonprofits or Volunteer Organizations

Some jurisdictions provide discounted rental rates to nonprofit organizations or volunteer groups. A couple examples are below.


Last Modified: July 12, 2017