As online vacationing websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO gain popularity, their presence has sparked debate in Denver: Should homeowners be allowed to offer their homes as short-term rentals without limit? Or will unfettered rental rights flood a neighborhood with vacationers, upsetting the fabric of the community?
The Denver City Council recently came down in the middle. It passed a bill allowing short-term rentals (vacationers stay less than 30 days), but only in homes that qualify as a homeowner’s primary residence. Short-term rentals now also pay a lodging tax, are required to register with the city and post a license number anywhere the property is marketed. The new rules took effect July 1.
Prior to the bill passing, experts estimated that 2,000 Denver properties were being used as short-term rentals; this includes both primary residences and second homes. Short-term rentals were illegal in the city, but the law was loosely enforced, according to the Denver Business Journal.
Among those who appeared in front of Denver City Council to debate the issue, some, such as Sherri Way of West Washington Park, told the Denver Post she worried that renters aren’t concerned about public schools and other issues important to the community. Additionally, “some told stories of loud parties and trash in their neighborhoods as a result of short-term rentals,” noted the Denver Business Journal.
On the other hand, others “stressed that renters are often families or business travelers that are respectful of neighbors.” And homeowners turned out in large numbers to argue that the bill would unfairly impact their ability to derive income from their property.
As befits compromise, both sides won—and lost—in the new arrangement.