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Louisville Short-Term Renters Say Stricter Rules Would Hurt Them

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Louisville residents who offer short-term rentals to visitors say they could suffer serious financial repercussions under stiffer city regulations.

The Louisville Metro Council is considering whether residents who rent their homes to tourists must follow the same regulations and permitting process laid out for hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Both the hotel industry and short-term renters have hired attorneys, indicating a legal challenge will happen either way the council acts. The council's public safety committee heard public comments on Wednesday, but no vote on a short-term rental ordinance has been scheduled.

Residents who offer short-term rentals, including those who use the popular Airbnb service, hired attorneys after city officials sent Airbnb hosts cease and desist letters several months ago.

On Wednesday, short-term rental hosts warned a Metro Council's public safety committee that stricter regulations on Airbnb and similar rentals could cause financial problems for some residents.

Short-term rental host David Caldwell told council members that Airbnb has kept him from foreclosure.

“You need to protect the opportunity for owner-occupiers like myself,” Caldwell said. “To provide space and to make it not burdensome for us to do that.”

Other hosts said they are open to being taxed and following some regulations. But they told council members their rentals works differently than hotels and other lodging businesses, and shouldn't be regulated the same way.

But Patrick Gregory, president of the Greater Louisville Hotel and Lodging Association, told council members that his industry must follow current laws — and short-term rental hosts should have to, too.

“All we ask is that forms of short-term lodging must compete on a level playing field and follow the laws and regulations,” Gregory said. "No new laws are needed—just enforcement of the current laws.”