Kansas City Council approves plan to regulate short-term rentals

The Kansas City Council took another step into the new sharing economy Thursday, voting to regulate where and how residents can host guests though popular platforms such as Airbnb, Homeaway and Flipkey.

The council’s 7-4 vote caps three years of discussion and debate. It bars new short-term rentals in certain low-density neighborhoods of single-family homes, where residents expressed concerns about the prospect of “strangers” living next door, producing noise, traffic and possibly crime.

Each short-term unit is limited to eight guests, with no more than two people to a bedroom. Multi-family homes are restricted to one short-term unit or 25 percent of all apartments, whichever comes first. Fire and safety inspections are required. Homes or apartments cannot be used for receptions, parties or similar events.

The ordinance also establishes different requirements for units that are owner-occupied and those where the owner lives elsewhere. Off-site owners must secure the consent of 55 percent of adjacent property owners. If that is not possible, they can apply to the city for a special use permit.

All hosts will pay a one-time administrative fee of $259 and then $175 annually. Hosts in historic districts or in certain other circumstances must apply for a $596 special use permit.

The measure is the latest acknowledgment that technology-driven forms of commerce, where goods and services can be had with the tap of an iPhone, are here to stay. Council members said they tried to strike a balance between neighborhood concerns and the city’s broader aspiration to be attractive to the young and tech-savvy.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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