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Metro Council Preps To Examine Short-Term Rental Regulations

Louisville City Hall
J. Tyler Franklin
Louisville City Hall

Louisville Metro Council members want to know if the city's short-term rental regulations are working.

Early next month, a council committee will hear from city officials about any issues uncovered during the first year of having the regulations.

Councilwoman Madonna Flood, who chairs the council's Planning, Zoning, Land Design and Development Committee, said she's requested a briefing from officials with the city's planning and design department, and revenue commission.

She said council members have expressed some concern about short-term rental property owners failing to obtain necessary permits and other instances of the properties being used as "party units."

"That's not the intent of the law," she said. "The intent of the law is for someone to be able to offer a short-term rental without jeopardizing the quality of life for the neighbors around those units."

Generally, short-term rental units include properties for rent through online portals like Airbnb.

The council last year voted to approve a set of ordinances detailing where short-term rental units will be allowed across the city and what types of units can be rented. The process of establishing the regulations took nearly a year.

Council members set protocols for rental registration fees, evacuation plans and capacity limitations, among others. Property owners must also obtain conditional use permits to rent certain units in areas zoned for residential use, under the regulations.

Flood said council members may consider strengthening penalties for property owners that fail to adhere to the regulations — such as those that don't properly register their units.

"They need to be paying taxes," she said. "I have heard some rumblings they are not doing that."

The city's regulations require an annual fee of $25. And a reportearlier this year from WDRB found the cost for necessary permits can be nearly $400.

The reportalso noted only a fraction of short-term rental units were registered and city officials were taking a lenient approach to enforcement.

Flood said the standards set for forth are minimum requirement and "it shouldn't be too much to ask" for people to adhere to the regulations.

The meetings will begin early next month. It's unclear if any public hearings will be held.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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