Denver Cracks Down On Short-Term Rentals

Denver’s Excise & License Department now requires $1 m worth of liability insurance to rent your home online. (Shutterstock)

DENVER, CO – Denver is cracking the whip with new rules for short term rentals through online services such as AirBnb or VRBO which went into effect today, the Department of Denver Excise and Licenses said. Property owners must acquire extra insurance coverage and inform their insurance company and HOA that the property will be rented short term. Complaining neighbors can initiate a process to have a license revoked, and property owners are required to keep the city up-to-date.

Last month, the portfolio-manager owner of a 7,800-sq.ft. luxury mansion in the 400 block of North Marion Street put the "Marion Manor" on the market for $5.8 million after running afoul of Denver’s short-term rental license requirements. Garth Yettick was charging $1,000 a night for the five-bedroom mansion with a pool and had a hard time convincing license regulators it was his permanent address, Business Den reported.

Hosts are only allowed to rent out their primary residence in Denver.

Ashley Kilroy, the agency’s executive director said the new changes were "sensible regulations" that struck a balance between welcoming tourists to Denver and minimizing the impact on neighbors. "These new rules increase protections for our community and help address the most common complaints we receive," Kilroy said in a statement.

The city added the following new rules:

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Hosts must carry a minimum of $1 million worth of liability insurance for the property being used, either through their own insurance company, or the rental platform. Hosts must tell their own insurance companies that the property is being used as a rental. They must also inform their HOAs. The city may revoke the license of a property where the rental is "adversely affecting the public health, safety, or welfare of the immediate neighborhood." Hosts are required to keep contact info for the property current.

The city has 2,574 active short-term rental licenses in Denver, which is an "all time high" compliance rate of 72 percent of online listings compared to 2,037 in April last year, when the rate was 52 percent, the agency said. The city initiated the license requirement in 2016.

The city toughened up the rules based on recommendations and public input from the Short-Term Rental Advisory Committee. Proposed changes were posted in December and hearings were held in January, giving landlords four months to comply, the department said.

In tourist destinations around the world, short-term rentals have made resident housing less affordable when investors buy apartments and homes to run as lucrative hotels. In Berlin, the government announced that an AirBnb crackdown forbidding whole-home rentals released 8,000 units back into the residential market, the government announced last year.

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