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Short-Term Rental Regulations Set For Louisville Metro

city hall
city Hall

Residents wishing to rent their homes through online portals like Airbnb must soon adhere to a set of local regulations.

The 26-member Louisville Metro Council voted Thursday night to approve ordinances detailing where short-term rental units will be allowed across the city and what types of units can be rented.

The 25-1 vote brings to an end the nearly yearlong process of developing the regulations. Republican Julie Denton cast the lone dissenting vote.

Late last year, the council approved a set of ordinances aimed at governing the growing industry.

One requires rental property owners to pay a $25 registration fee and adhere to capacity limits and certain safety measures. Another ordinance, approved Thursday, sets parameters for which zoning districts short-term rentals will be permitted in and where property owners will need to obtain special permits.

Under the approved ordinance, conditional use permits would be required to rent certain units in areas zoned for residential use. For instance, owners must obtain a conditional use permit for short-term rentals in units not considered their primary residence.

Multifamily units, like apartments or condos, will also require a conditional use permit from the city's board of zoning adjustment. Renting them on sites such as Airbnb will only be allowed in certain neighborhoods, specifically those close to entertainment areas like Old Louisville and Butchertown.

Conditional use permits can be revoked if two or more civil or criminal complaints are incurred against a property. And parking requirements will be set by the city's zoning board.

The final ordinance does not include exemptions for property owners wishing to operate short-term rentals during the Kentucky Derby, as was previously proposed.

Councilman James Peden, a Republican from District 23 and chair of the council's land development code committee, which developed the final ordinance, said he's pleased with the final product.

"We've done a very nice job of being just restrictive enough," he said.

Peden said he doesn't consider requiring property owners to ensure guests aren't bothering neighbors to be a burden.

"If you have guests at your establishment, whether it be your primary residence or a business, you have a responsibility to make sure that those guests are not disturbing the immediate neighbors, the neighborhood. That's what we do here," he said.

The regulations will take effect Aug. 1.

In a tweet posted after the vote, Derby Home Rental — a company that advertises properties for rent during Derby season — lamented the new regulations.

"Bad for businesses & homeowners that Metro Council didn't issue Derby-time exemption Planning Commission suggested," the company tweeted.

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.