New Rules For Short-Term Rentals Move Forward In Denver City Council

April 14, 2016

New regulations for short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO moved ahead in the Denver City Council on Wednesday.

The Neighborhood and Planning Committee voted 5-1 to forward the new rules to the full council.

The most controversial part of the measure would allow landlords to only rent properties they live in, a limitation meant to appease neighborhood groups worried about short-term rentals’ impact on affordable housing.

But that same move upset landlords who’ve invested huge sums in properties they would no longer be able to list on Airbnb and similar sites.

Councilman Wayne New floated an amendment at Wednesday’s meeting that would soften the rule a bit, allowing landlords to either rent out a unit in their residence or a secondary residence.

That caught the attention of Shahla Hebets of the Short-Term Rental Alliance, who has led the opposition to the primary residency requirement.

“We don’t want to see someone come in and buy multiple properties and rent them as a hotel,” she said, in a nod to neighborhood groups’ concerns. “Our ask is, ‘how can we find a compromise that allows us to stay in business?’ “

New's amendment wasn't added to the bill, but may be considered later. The bill’s sponsor, Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman, has been adamant in her support for the primary residence requirement up to this point.

"We need to see how it goes, work on it, and find many other things we hadn't thought about," she said. "If any of these amendments don't pass, they are things that could be considered going forward."

The measure would also levy lodger's tax on rentals and require landlords to register with the city. The full council will take it up in May.