At the behest of members of the Hotel-Motel Alliance, city management asked staff to begin looking at the issue of short-term rentals. A working group of staff from multiple departments was formed. This working group discussed issues with short-term rentals and why their departments have an interest in regulating their use. Concerns from the staff working group include safety for renters, zoning concerns, business licensing, and collection of transient guest tax. The working group reviewed current regulations on in the Code that can be applied to short-term rentals, and discussed some amendments that could be proposed to better help regulate short-term rentals. Finally, the working group reviewed what other cities in the nearby area and across the country are doing to better regulate short-term rentals, and how those regulations may or may not be appropriate for Independence.
Some of the common reasons that cities across the country are beginning to regulate short-term rentals are:
- To preserve the residential character of neighborhoods
- Concerns for property maintenance
- Collection of transient guest taxes
- To create a level playing field with competing hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, etc.
- For the protection and safety of renters, owners, and neighbors
Assistant Community Development Director Charlie Dissell will present the research findings and seek direction from the Council. Staff recommends amending the Code to clearly define short-term rentals as distinct from hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts, but direction is needed to determine what regulations will apply to short-term rentals. In general, the Council should discuss whether or not it wants to encourage more short-term rentals with less stringent regulations or if it wants to limit short-term rentals with more stringent regulations.