Denver City Council approves short-term rentals ordinance

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DENVER -- After years of debate, short-term renting is finally legal in Denver. The city council approved the measure Monday, allowing AirBNB and other rentals to occur in primary residences.

“It's a good, easy and discounted way to go on vacation,” said Perry Clarke, a Denverite who is in his mid-20s.

For years, short-term rentals continued to be rented out as the city and county failed to enforce the ordinance.

Charlie Busch, who lives in west Washington Park, is supportive of the measure. While she is against short-term rentals, she realized the ban could not last forever and that the compromise will ensure vacation home properties aren’t allowed to rent out their homes.

“I don’t like having short-term rentals in my neighborhood,” Busch said. “But there has to be some regulation."

Owners must register their property with the city, they must pay a tax or fee to license the property and only the primary residences can be rented.

Busch hopes this shuts down a vacation home property that is often rented out down the block.

“You go to the party house around the corner they have room for ten people to sleep. It is the favorite of the Texas frat boys,” Busch said.

But vacation homeowners are furious.

“Very upset, very disappointed,” Josh Hanfling said.

Hanfling represents vacation home owners as well as VRBO, which started in Denver years ago.

“A lot of these folks have a house in the mountains and they want to have a house in Denver and the only way they can afford it is to be able to rent the home here on a short-term basis,” Hanfling said.

The question is whether the city and county will be able to enforce the new rule. They struggled to previously. Busch has the number to call ready.

“Not 911. 311 is the number you call,” Busch said.

“Last night the Denver City Council voted 9-2 on short term rental regulations and joins the growing number of cities embracing innovative policies to allow people to share their homes and make ends meet," AirBNB said in a statement. "The law allows for primary residents to share their home with no cap on amount of days and an easy to use online registration system for home sharers to get a permit. This is the result of work over the past two years from Airbnb, members of our host and guest community and policymakers have worked together to create common sense regulations - in fact a number of neighborhood organizations from across the city spoke in favor of the measure.”

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