Guest Ranch

A guest ranch is defined in A.R.S. 42-13551 , which states: For the purposes of this article, “guest ranch” means real property and improvements to property being used as a guest ranch that meets all of the following:

  1. Consists of at least one thousand contiguous acres that are any of the following:
    1. Private property adjacent to the headquarters.
    2. Leased property adjacent to the headquarters. For the purposes of this subdivision, the lease agreement may be for private or public real property and must be in writing and include riding rights.
    3. Public land that is subject to a riding permit.
  2. Provides recreational activities that include horseback riding, hiking, biking or a working cattle ranch experience for guests.
  3. Has an organized and supervised horse program on the property with a horse herd that consists of a number of horses that is equal to or greater than the total number of guest accommodations.
  4. Uses at least one permanent structure that has running water, sewage disposal and a kitchen.
  5. Provides guests with three meals each day as part of the guest ranch’s primary package, commonly referred to as the “American plan”.
  6. Includes the word “ranch” or “rancho” in the guest ranch’s name.

A guest ranch, as defined in A.R.S. 42-13551., is classified as property Class Two in A.R.S. 42-12002 (1)(e) and (2)(e) , and is subject to the considerations and restrictions found in A.R.S. 42-13552, quoted below.

42-13552. Deed restriction on guest ranch use; covenants; violation; penalty.

  1. As a condition for valuation under this article, the owner of a guest ranch shall record a deed restriction with the county recorder and file a copy of the restriction with the county assessor that restricts the property to use as a guest ranch for at least ten years. The deed restriction must be refiled as necessary to ensure that the deed restriction always applies for at least ten years. For initial valuation under this article, the deed restriction must be filed on or before August 31 of the year preceding the valuation.
  2. The valuation of a guest ranch under this section constitutes a covenant between the county assessor and the owner of the guest ranch that the use of the property will remain unchanged for the duration of the deed restriction.
  3. The county assessor shall maintain a record of the value of the property determined under this article and the value of the property if it had not been determined under this article. The assessor shall maintain the record for at least ten years for use in computing the penalty under subsection D of this section if the property is converted to a different use in violation of the covenant.
  4. If the property is converted to a different use in violation of the covenant, the owner shall notify the county assessor of the change in use. The county assessor shall add to the tax levied against the property on the next tax roll a penalty equal to the difference between the total amount of property taxes that would have been levied on the property for the preceding ten years or the period of time the property was valued under this section, whichever period is shorter, if the property had not been valued under this section and the property taxes that were actually paid for the same period. The penalty due under this subsection shall be paid before the next property tax roll is completed and is enforceable and subject to the same penalties and interest as if the penalty were a tax levied against the property.

IN ADDITION: In June of 2023 the Governor approved AZ State House Bill 2145 Amending the following state statutes 41-826, 41-867, 42-12002, 42-12004, 42-13302 and 42-13551, relating to the Arizona Historical Society and Guest Ranches.

More Information

To make this election, the owner must submit the following:

PDF File icon Guest Ranch Application

PDF File icon Guest Ranch Application Checklist