Homeowners in Boulder now have new rules for short-term rentals

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Boulder short-term rental

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BOULDER, Colo. -- Short-term rentals are sweeping the nation. More people are using them as alternatives to hotels for a place to stay on vacations, and the city of Boulder is now regulating them.

New rules for the short-term rentals went into effect in Boulder on Monday. Services like Airbnb and VRBO have become extremely popular, and Boulder is requiring landlords to obtain a license in order to host.

“This is relatively new. The whole sharing economy is new and it’s going to take cities time to catch up to it,” said Vivienne Palmer, an Airbnb host in Boulder.

It’s uncharted waters for cities and hosts throughout the country.

“The city received a great deal of positive feedback from homeowners about this and users,” said Ben Irwin, communications manager for Planning, Housing and Sustainability in Boulder.

Voters in Boulder approved the new regulations in November.

“We know there’s been an increase in short-term rentals in the area and the purpose of the ordinance is to provide a legal pathway to make that happen,” Irwin said.

The new rules include a 7.5 percent tax that matches what hotels pay, a $105 license fee, a $25 business license, home ownership at the primary residence and safety standards.

“There are other types of short-term rentals in the city and this is an opportunity to provide some equity there,” Irwin said.

Change is inevitable, but it’s not always easy for the hosts.

“The money is not the problem,” Palmer said. “I think the problem is with how accelerated everything is right now.”

It’s a quick turnaround since the November vote. Starting Monday, would-be landlords who want to rent their property for fewer than 30 days must have a license.

“They’ve got a whole lot of infrastructure that they need to iron out and given that Election Day was November,” Palmer said.

The city said there will be some leeway to start the process, but it wants to make sure everyone is educated.

“Right now we’re focused on education,” Irwin said. “We realize that this is a new ordinance so what we’re doing is trying to make sure people are aware and we’re trying to get compliance.”

The Denver City Council is working on regulations for short-term rentals.

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