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Airbnb Changes Clear Louisville Metro Council Committee

File photo

A local ordinance regulating short-term home rentals in Louisville through websites such as Airbnb and Vacation Rentals By Owner cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday.

The Metro Council’s public safety committee approved a measure 4-1 requiring people who post their house on such sites to register and pay a fee to the city. It also requires that they be taxed, among other things.

The full council still must approve the ordinance for it to become law.

The committee spent months tinkering with the ordinance. Members sought advice and assistance from city agencies — including from other cities that have passed similar laws — before finalizing an ordinance.

The legislation became a priority after several homeowners received citations from Metro government for using short-term rental services. Councilman Bill Hollander, D-9, voted for the measure.

“What we are trying to do with this ordinance is to make an industry that is growing legal in this city, but yet have some restrictions that will protect neighborhoods,” he said.

Hollander said the taxing requirement also ensures that short-term rental hosts and hotels have a level playing field.

There are still zoning issues to work out. Assistant County Attorney Paul Whitty said there will be time to address specific issues that may crop up.

“This doesn’t take effect until 150 days after passage,” Whitty said. “So that would certainly give us an opportunity to have a companion land development code amendment in place before this becomes effective.”

Council members said there will be leeway on penalties as the new regulations are rolled out.