Denver Set To Officially Recognize Short-Term Rentals

The Denver City Council is set to vote Monday night on new rules for short-term rentals.

The controversial proposal up for a final vote would legally recognize the popular alternative to hotels. Any rental under 30 days is technically illegal now, but the city has not enforced the law.

But the growth in such rentals in recent years has spurred acrimony among neighborhood groups. The council has settled on a proposal would effectively ban hundreds of the approximately 2,000 short-term rentals in the city.

That's because of a provision that would only grant the necessary permits to landlords who rent their primary residence; second homes and investment properties could no longer be rented out on platforms like VRBO.

The primary residence provision is meant to limit the number of homes used for short-term rentals in the city; neighborhood groups worry such rentals are taking up affordable housing stock.

But professional landlords -- and vacation rental giant Homeaway -- are making a last-ditch effort to derail the proposal.

"We have been in on-going discussions with city council members regarding smart compromise regulations," Shahla Hebets, founder of the Denver Short Term Rental Alliance, wrote in an email Friday. "We are hopeful that common-sense regulations will prevail."

Homesharing, popularized in recent years by Airbnb, would be allowed under the rules. So would full-home rentals -- but only in the landlord's primary residence.

The vote could happen late -- a long public comment period is expected. But the measures' sponsor, Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman, expects it to pass.