Englewood moves toward short-term rental policy

Denver, Lakewood give city advice on the issue

Posted 4/8/19

Houses designated for pot and partying, or a source of extra income for homeowners: Short-term rentals may soon be acknowledged and regulated in Englewood, and the city is seeking ways to keep them …

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Englewood moves toward short-term rental policy

Denver, Lakewood give city advice on the issue

Posted

Houses designated for pot and partying, or a source of extra income for homeowners: Short-term rentals may soon be acknowledged and regulated in Englewood, and the city is seeking ways to keep them from going awry.

“Let's ensure that neighborhoods are still about the people who live in them and not about full-time short-term rentals,” said Abe Barge, city planner with the City of Denver, at a forum at the Englewood Civic Center.

Barge and other officials in the Denver metro area came to shed light on the rentals as Englewood gears up to consider a policy governing them. They involve the renting out of a housing unit for a short amount of time, such as a vacation. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO facilitate them.

Denver passed rules allowing short-term rentals in 2016, although illegal ones had been conducted before then, Barge said at the April 2 forum.

“Leading up to June 2016 adoption of the system, it was not without controversy,” Barge said. “There were reasons there were hundreds of people at these meetings.”

Denver settled on requiring that short-term rentals may only be run by the resident of the home, excluding those who sought to conduct the rentals in investment properties.

When someone rents out a house they don't live in, in Denver's experience, it “goes bad fast,” said Brian Snow, a compliance program administrator with the City of Denver. Many people come to Denver for a reason, Snow said — to laughs from the audience — mentioning pot and partying.

“You can have one house that can ruin three or four blocks with the partying, the parking, the noise,” said Snow, who added that Denver can revoke a short-term rental license if it “violates the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood.”

Lakewood, one of the largest suburbs in the metro area, doesn't yet have short-term rental regulations, according to Erin Bravo, a planner for that city. Nearly 350 of the rentals were likely running around the time when the city started to look into regulations, in late 2016, she said.

The city had heard from some residents who wanted and some who didn't want the rentals to be legal, and there may be demand from people who want to rent while their loved ones are in Lakewood-area medical centers, Bravo said.

Englewood city staff wrote in an April 1 memorandum that research has identified about 130 short-term rentals being advertised in and around Englewood.

Englewood has long been grappling with adjusting to the influx of people in the metro area, approving regulations — after years of consideration — to allow accessory dwelling units in January. Those small residential spaces, located behind a house or attached to a garage, have also been touted a way for homeowners to pull in additional income, and as affordable housing.

ADUs also proved to be a contentious issue in Englewood, with the ordinance passing over the “no” votes of three of the seven Englewood city councilmembers.

In Denver, short-term rentals can be conducted in ADUs, but a person renting it out must still be living on the property, said Barge, the city's principal planner.

Over the past eight months, Englewood's Planning and Zoning Commission — citizens who make development recommendations to city council — has been drafting and discussing regulations for short-term rentals, according to the city memorandum.

The commission is expected to finalize the draft language at its April 16 meeting and schedule a public hearing, at which citizens can give comment, to be held in the next few months, the memo said. The commission will recommend whether city council should approve the regulations, and then council will approve or deny.

“The proposed regulations would offer an approach to monitor and permit such rentals located within the city limits,” the memo said, adding that the proposal would allow Englewood to collect a lodging tax on the rentals. “Please note that without regulation, short-term rentals will still exist and will still remain an enforcement issue.”

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