Denver officials consider new requirements for short-term rental landlords

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DENVER --  The Mile High City is continuing its aggressive crackdown on Airbnb operations. Three landlords have been criminally charged since June -- accused of running short-term rentals illegally. Now, officials are considering even more rules.

Landlords, concerned residents and city staff met Tuesday to discuss enforcement measures during a quarterly advisory gathering.

There are 2,683 active short-term rental licenses in Denver -- a 28 percent increase over the last year.

“There is no sign short-term rentals -- the pace of them increasing -- slowing down any time soon," said Eric Escudero with Denver Excise and Licenses.

Denver started regulating the short-term rental industry in 2017 and strengthened rules last April. Currently, the city requires landlords to sign an affidavit pledging that the home they plan on renting is their primary residence.

Stakeholders and city officials are now considering changing the definition of what a primary residence is to make it easier to understand. One idea floated at Tuesday's meeting is to require that a landlord is physically at the primary residence at least 183 days a year.

Denver contracts a company to scour the websites like Airbnb. That company looks for short-term rentals that aren’t yet licensed. The current fines for operating without a license range from $150 to $999. Committee members on Tuesday looked at cities where fines are higher -- opening the door to the consideration of increasing Denver’s fines.

While some people see the regulations as a way for the city to make money, residents at Tuesday's meeting said stiff regulations are needed for the integrity of neighborhoods.

Denver says its research shows a license compliance rate of around 77 percent.

Denver defines a short-term rental as any rental term of less than 30 days.

There’s an average of three short-term rental complaints a week on 311 — mostly for noise disturbances, according to Escudero.

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