Short-term rentals get first-round approval in Englewood

5-2 majority on council votes to give homeowners legal way to do business

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Englewood City Council on Feb. 3 approved the legality of short-term rentals on first reading, a service that allows homeowners to rent out their home or a room in their home for 29 days or less.

The idea to regulate short-term rentals was presented to Englewood City Council by city staff last July, but the ordinance was shut down in a vote by council last October. Englewood staff presented a new ordinance on short-term rentals that included a plan to enforce regulations of the service last month, and later, the issue was broken into two separate ordinances. One of the ordinances pertains to land-use provisions for short-term rentals while the other ordinance focuses on regulations of the service.

Both the short-term rental regulation and land-use ordinances were approved on 5-2 votes on Feb. 3, with Councilmembers Dave Cuesta and Rita Russell voting against them.

At a Jan. 27 Englewood City Council special meeting, council directed staff to establish the zone districts in the city where short-term rentals will be allowed.

Land-use provisions for short-term rentals will allow residents to host the service in single unit residential; low, mid density single and multi-dwelling residential; mixed use low, medium density residential, limited office; and mixed use medical, office, high density residential limited retail zones. Those zone districts were recommended for the service partially because Englewood’s Planning and Zoning Commission recognized short-term rentals already exist in Englewood, city documents read.

The ordinance regarding regulations of short-term rentals requires owner/landlords to acquire an operating permit. The owner must submit an application for the permit, pay a fee and have their property inspected. In addition, the owner must provide a scale floor plan of their property, a scale plan showing all parking areas for the property, a Colorado Sales Tax License, an Englewood Sales and Use Tax License and an Englewood Lodging License. The operating permit is valid for one year and must be renewed.

Owners of short-term rentals must live at the residence where they are hosting their service; must comply with safety, noise and property maintenance requirements; and must provide one parking space for each bedroom that is being rented, the regulations ordinance says.

Permits can be revoked if there is a violation of any term of the permit, if the owner doesn’t comply with city or state sales tax regulations, or if the city finds the rental causes a nuisance or a danger to the health, safety and welfare of a resident.

An enforcement officer would be responsible for enforcing regulations for short-term rentals. That person would issue notices and orders, summons and complaints for prosecution to Englewood Municipal Court. If there is reasonable suspicion of any violation, the officer would have the right to access the short-term rental property.

When council voted against the short-term rental ordinance in October, it was because some councilmembers expressed concerns of accessory dwelling units being used as a short-term rental service. This time around, accessory dwelling units will not be allowed to be used as a short-term rental under the new regulation ordinance.

Both short-term rental ordinances are up for final vote at the Feb. 18 Englewood City Council meeting.

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