Short-term rentals discussed again by Englewood City Council

A public hearing about the topic is scheduled for Oct. 7

Posted 9/3/19

The popular Airbnb short-term rental service eclipsed over $30 billion in industry value last year, according to a report from Forbes. The company says there are more than 6 million Airbnb listings …

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Short-term rentals discussed again by Englewood City Council

A public hearing about the topic is scheduled for Oct. 7

Posted

The popular Airbnb short-term rental service eclipsed over $30 billion in industry value last year, according to a report from Forbes. The company says there are more than 6 million Airbnb listings around the world.

In Englewood, city staff estimates that there are at least 126 operating short-term rentals — a service where homeowners rent out their residences, either whole houses or rooms, for 30 days or less.

The question Englewood is trying to solve is how to go about regulating the service that is currently illegal in the city.

That question was discussed at an Englewood City Council study session on Aug. 26. Recommendations presented before council by city staff suggest that Englewood hire a third-party enforcement company to monitor active short-term rental services in the city. Some third-party enforcement companies that could be considered include Host Compliance, LodgingRevs and Harmari.

The suggestion to hire a third-party enforcement company coincides with a July study session where city staff recommended setting zoning restrictions for short-term rental services and permit requirements. If council passes the recommendations, then short-term rentals would become legal in residential, multi-use and medical zoned districts. Short-term rental providers would also be required to show proof of property ownership, a certificate of insurance and a plan that shows parking areas near a short-term rental property.

“(Third party enforcement companies) come up with an extensive mapping system. They come up with a detailed property report,” said Wade Burkholder, planning manager for the city. “They’re covering as much information as they can from their databases to provide that to us in order to provide us with the most detail possible and the possibility for having to go through municipal court with an applicant.”

City staff estimates that contracting a third-party enforcement company would cost the city around $20,000 per year, according to city documents. Alternative suggestions include hiring a city employee to monitor and enforce short-term rental regulations, which would cost approximately $75,000 per year, or to not monitor short-term rental compliance and institute enforcement procedures on a complaint-based system, documents read.

“Regardless of whether we decide we’re going to legalize short-term rentals or not, we need to have some kind of regulating position. I would like to see us go with the third party, partly because it sorts out this accusation perhaps from citizens that someone is being favored in the neighborhood,” said Englewood Mayor Linda Olson. “It removes it from our staff being blamed for things. I’ll go either way, but I think we need to have a very specific thing.”

Denver has made at least four arrests recently in connection to residents allegedly operating a short-term rental service illegally. In order to obtain a short-term rental license in Denver, renters must reside at the property where they wish to offer the service.

Spencer David Chase became the fourth person charged for operating an illegal short-term rental business when he allegedly submitted an application in April for a short-term rental license at 1117 S. Milwaukee St., which is not his primary home, according to the Denver District Attorney’s Office. He was arrested in July and was charged with one count of attempting to influence a public servant.

“The first thing I would like to address is just short-term rental enforcement. Whether or not we approve it later to me is secondary,” said Englewood City Councilmember Dave Cuesta. “We’ll need enforcement regardless.”

A public hearing for short-term rental regulations is scheduled for Oct. 7.

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