City Councilors said Westminster needs some sort of rules surrounding short-term rentals on March 7.
Councilors directed city staff to begin formal efforts surrounding short-term rentals regulations after a citizen survey showed residents don’t want the practice banned but they want some rules for renters.
Operations and Community Preservation Manager Aric Otzelberger gave the council a presentation on short-term rentals within the city. Short-term rentals are rentals of all or portions of a property for less than 30 days, he said. Cities adjacent to Westminster — Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Thornton, Boulder, Northglenn, Denver and Broomfield — have legalized short-term rental programs and have formed a licensing process for services like Airbnb.com and VRBO.com.
Otzelberger said Westminster Municipal Code is silent regarding short-term rentals. Some common regulations councilors could consider include primary residence requirements (meaning those renting out the property must be the owner) taxes on the transaction, licensing fees and occupancy limits, typically two occupants per bedroom.
According to Otzelberger, there are likely 221 properties in Westminster charging an average daily rate of $173.63 for rent. More than a third – about 38%, he said – are single rooms. Another 30% are apartments or condos, 18% are houses.
There were 31 new short-term rental listings with the city in February 2022, Otzelberger said.
Otzelberger said residents want some regulation on short-term rentals, but stopped short of saying they want the practice banned.
Otzelberger said the city completed a survey in early 2019 that asked residents if the city should regulate short-term rentals. More than half of the 629 responses – about 52% – said the city should while 39% said do not regulate and 9% were neutral.
On the other hand, 67% said the city should not prohibit short-term rentals while 22% said the practice should be banned.
Mayor Pro Tem David DeMott noted that most of the survey responses came from HOAs and asked if a more inclusive survey could be done of the city.
City Councilor Lindsey Emmons said she would like more information about how short-term rentals affect the value of neighboring homes before she makes a policy decision.
To formulate a policy, Otzelberger said staff will engage with a list of 336 individuals who indicated on the survey that they would be willing to provide input on the matter. Those efforts would be focus groups and other methods of receiving opinions, he said.