City of Boulder Airbnb : Proposed Rules as of Sept 15
Many of you may have been following the City of Boulder as it sent Cease and Desist Letters to Airbnb hosts in January 2015, then retracted them, then put it on the agenda for discussion during the first part of the year.
Last week, they decided on new rules, with the intention of trying to protect long term rentals in the City of Boulder… And maybe to even the playing field for hotels, who are possibly concerned that travelers have options and are choosing a less expensive, more human connection, perhaps at their detriment, perhaps not. The City’s decision to regulate short term rentals will likely affect the real estate market, will definitely affect the short term rental market and will affect the lives of the hosts too.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a Realtor, a Property Manager, a home owner and an Airbnb Host in the City of Boulder. Yep, I’m seeing it from all sides for better and worse.
In short, here are the new rules:
On Sept. 15, 2015, the council made amendments and will likely consider the final version on Sept. 29, 2015.
City of Boulder provisions of the short term rental ordinance
The ordinance passed on Sept. 15 includes the following provisions:
- Boulder voters will be considering a tax on short term rentals at the Nov. 3, 2015 election. If the tax does not pass, the ordinance allowing short-term rentals will not go into effect. Instead, there will be an express provision prohibiting short-term rentals.
- Short-term rentals will only be allowed at the owner’s principal place of residence. This means where the person is registered to vote, has his or her car registered, or has other indications that this is the place where the person lives.
- There is no limit on the number of days that a residence can be rented in a year. There is also no requirement that the owner be present during the rental. An owner can rent a room while the owner is present, or the entire home while the owner is away on vacation. An accessory unit may only be rented for up to 120 days in a year.
- The rental can be an accessory unit on the same parcel, but the owner may only have a short term license for either the principal residence or the accessory unit, but not both. The accessory unit must be legal to be rented.
- The owner must be a natural person and not any type of corporation or partnership. The owner’s name must be on the deed to the property.
- An owner can rent to a group of related people of any number, or to three or four unrelated people, depending on where the house is. If there is a family in the house at the time of the rental, the family will count as one person, so they can rent to two or three additional people, again depending on where the house is.
- Short-term rentals will not be required to have rental licensing inspections. All accessory units are already required to have a long term rental license, so those will be inspected under that provision. The owner will be required to certify that the home has smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and possibly other safety equipment.
- Short-term rentals will be required to comply with the city’s SmartRegs program when it goes into effect in January 2019, except for attached accessory units.
- The owner will be required to provide the city and any guests with the name and telephone number of a contact person who can be at the property in 60 minutes. The contact person can be the owner. If the owner is planning to rent the home while the owner is away on vacation more than 60 minutes away, the owner should provide the name of someone who will be in town.
- The home cannot be part of the city’s permanently affordable housing program
The council is not likely to have another public hearing on Sept. 29, 2015.
If the ballot item for a short term rental tax does not pass on the Nov. 3, 2015 election, the ordinance allowing short-term rentals will not go into effect.
If the ballot item does pass, the ordinance would be effective 30 days after final passage, but would not be implemented until Jan. 4, 2016.
Contact Chief Financial Officer Bob Eichem at 303-441-1819.