Public hearing held for short-term rentals

Englewood council set to hold first vote on issue Oct. 21

Posted 10/14/19

Kelsi Renner and her husband have owned a home in Englewood for 20 years. She lives three houses away from a residence that was operating for six months as a short-term rental — a service where …

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Public hearing held for short-term rentals

Englewood council set to hold first vote on issue Oct. 21

Posted

Kelsi Renner and her husband have owned a home in Englewood for 20 years. She lives three houses away from a residence that was operating for six months as a short-term rental — a service where homeowners rent out their residences, either whole houses or rooms, for 30 days or less. The residence was advertised on the Airbnb short-term rental service, saying it can hold 13 people, Renner said.

Once short-term renters started using the property, Renner’s neighborhood began to experience noise and parking issues, as well as “illegal and nuisance behavior,” Renner said.

“I don’t think this behavior comes as a surprise to any of us. Short-term owners and their renters have very different interests from the residents of a neighborhood,” said Renner. “The owners of a short-term rental are looking to maximize their investments at the expense of our neighborhoods. Residential neighborhoods are for homes, not hotels.”

Some Englewood residents agreed with Renner’s disapproval of short-term rentals, while others spoke in favor of the idea at a public hearing during an Englewood City Council meeting on Oct. 7. The city is considering an ordinance centered around zoning restrictions for short-term rental services and permit/registration requirements. If council decides to move forward with the ordinance, then short-term rentals would become legal in residential, multi-use and medical zoned districts.

Currently, there are more than 120 operating short-term rentals in Englewood, according to city staff. Short-term rental services are currently illegal in Englewood.

“The regulation of short-term rentals ought to be easy. Apply for a license, follow the guidelines, and if there are violations, or if you become a nuisance, revoke the license,” said Englewood resident Erika Zierke. She added that she knows regulation enforcement can be a complex issue.

“Short-term rentals allow people to earn a little extra money to make ends meet in an economy where it is increasingly difficult to get ahead,” she said.

If council moves forward, owners of short-term rentals would be required to obtain a state sales tax license, an Englewood sales and use tax license and an Englewood lodging license, according to city documents. Short-term rental operations would also be subject to lodging and sales tax regulations.

The proposed permit/registration system would require short-term rental operators to pay $150 per registration annually, under city staff recommendations. The permit/registration fee would cover the city’s cost to hire a third-party enforcement agency to monitor and enforce laws for short-term rentals, city documents read. A short-term rental property would have to be the owner’s primary residence.

Short-term rentals would not be allowed to have more than eight renters in their residence and would be required to provide one parking space per bedroom. If short-term rental owners fail to comply with regulations, they could have their permit revoked for a period of 18 months.

Denver short-term rental regulations are similar to ones Englewood City Council is considering. Anyone listing a house for a short-term rental is required to register with the city and pay a licensing fee. The Denver Post reported last month that 154 people surrendered their licenses and 126 others withdrew applications after owners allegedly falsifying the owner occupancy requirement were prosecuted. This year, four people have faced felony charges for manipulating documents regarding short-term rental properties, the Post reported.

Englewood City Council is expected to hold its first vote regarding the short-term rental regulations on Oct. 21.

“I think this vote can go either way. We’re going to take in all these comments from the public, from our neighbors, from parties involved and then make the decision,” said Englewood City Councilmember Dave Cuesta at the public meeting.

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