Louisville Metro Council seeks additional input on plan to regulate short term rentals
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Leaders with Louisville Metro Council are asking for additional input while they work out details of an ordinance aimed at creating more regulatory oversight in the short term housing market.
At a special called meeting of Metro Council’s public safety committee, members took part in a video conference call with representatives from Nashville’s city government. In July, Nashville instituted a similar ordinance. Members of Metro Council’s public safety committee said the call was simply a fact finding mission.
Over the past few years, vacation rental websites such as AirBnB and VRBO have grown exponentially, creating additional competition for hotels. However, district 25 councilman David Yates says at least in Louisville, many rules put in place to regulate those types of rentals are not being followed.
“There are basic planning and zoning requirements,” Yates said following Wednesday afternoon’s meeting. “But what's happening with your Air BnB type rentals, they're not going through that process.”
Yates said any additional regulations that would be put into place as a result of this proposed ordinance would be aimed at creating safer neighborhoods.
“Most people are complying with our local laws,” Yates said. “In the event they don't, we want to make sure our officers aren't over taxed or overworked.”
However, there is some money to be had by Louisville Metro via tax revenue and possible fees with additional regulations.
“I don't think it's going to be a lot compared to the cost of enforcement so I want to make sure we are getting a positive gain for the city,” Yates said.
Several people spoke during the public comment period of public safety committee meeting.
“Maybe you need to make a distinction between people that are doing this for their business and those who are doing this protect their own house and keep it in better shape,” said David Caldwell who says he rents his home several times a year on Air BnB.
Creating a distinction between those renting their home as a means of extra income and those people who own several different properties and rent them all at once is something members of Metro Council have discussed.
“If you want to enforce a regulation for those running a business, that makes sense,” Caldwell said. “But if you want to talk about a level playing field I don't see how me renting out my house a few times a year is a level playing field with Hilton trying to operate in Louisville.”
Members of the public safety committee were quick to point out on Wednesday that much more discussion is needed before finalizing the guidelines that would be set forth by the ordinance. So far, some possibilities include the home owner paying a $250 fee, requiring an annual license from metro government, submit to inspections and have an insurance policy with liability coverage of at least $1 million.
“We don't want to smother that out,” Yates said of the rentals. “We want to make sure that we continue to facilitate it with the least restrictive regulations we can.”
Metro government leaders want to seek additional input from people who rent their homes out as well as from other cities that have similar ordinances in place already. They say they will have those meetings over the next several weeks before finalizing the ordinances and sending it to full Metro Council for a vote.
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