By Darja Pisorn
As of January 1, 2017, short term rental (STR) is now legal in the city of Denver, thanks to an ordinance passed by the city council last June. Previously, it was actually illegal to rent a space for less than 30 days at a time. If you didn’t know that, you’re not alone. AirBnB and other STR sites have been operating in the Denver for years, with no intervention from the city. However, the growth of these sites coupled with Denver’s housing shortage made it almost inevitable for the city to step in to regulate. While the new ordinance finally legitimizes a service many of us use and love, not everyone was pleased with its restrictions.
At a town hall meeting before the ordinance was put to a vote, AirBnB users showed up in droves to voice disapproval of the primary-residence restriction. When pressed, members of city council explained that this measure would serve to protect the already strained housing market. They feared that without the primary residence restriction, big investors would buy up properties and run glorified hotels, while residents of the city would be left with even fewer housing options and higher prices than before.
As of Jan 1, 2017, a homeowner (or renter, with landlord’s permission) may rent part or all of their primary residence on a short term basis, but must obtain a license and pay a 10.75% lodgers tax.
The process is pretty easy. Apply for a lodgers tax license on the city’s ‘e-biz’ site, and then apply for a STR license. $50 and about 15 minutes later, you should have a printable license to hang somewhere in your rental space, and a license number to post in your AirBnB listing page.
If you haven’t licensed your short term rental yet, don’t stress. A city employee told me they aren’t imposing any fines or late fees yet, but it’s best to get it taken care of now. Here’s a helpful FAQ sheet from the city with links to the tax license and STR license pages.
Darja Pisorn is a Realtor with Bluebird Real Estate and an AirBNB enthusiast.