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Kansas City, Missouri, City Council passes 2 short-term rental ordinances

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Posted at 6:23 PM, May 04, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two ordinances regarding short-term rentals, which were originally introduced in January, passed the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council unanimously on Thursday.

Both ordinances were up for discussion during Wednesday’s Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee meeting and then moved to the full KCMO City Council.

The first ordinance relates to zoning and has an “accelerated effective date.” Short-term rentals registered under this ordinance must re-register if the property changes hands.

Councilman Eric Bunch said the first ordinance is one that neighborhood leaders have been asking for.

The second ordinance would allow better enforcement of short-term rentals, which are properties or rooms within properties that owners list for rent for fewer than 30 days at a time. People typically use sites such as Airbnb and Vrbo to advertise the rental.

The effective date of the second ordinance is June 15, with registration through the City’s Neighborhood Services Department taking effect the same day.

“One of our No. 1 goals in Kansas City government is to make sure we are protecting neighborhood quality-of-life and housing availability,” KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “We heard growing concerns from our neighbors about trash, noise, and violent crime associated with short-term rental properties.

"We are committed to regulating them to ensure we continue to have neighborhoods accessible for residents, not unregulated hotels operating on quiet city blocks. I am proud City Council approved the short-term rental ordinance, providing consistency among short-term rental owners and ensuring all who live in Kansas City and take part in our community’s growing economy.”

The second ordinance provides employees from the Neighborhood Services Department to monitor compliance on short-term rentals and establish a flat registration fee of $200, which will increase annually based on the Consumer Price Index. The registration fees will pay for the new employees.

Registration is now required for previously approved short-term rentals under the new regulations established in the first ordinance once annual registration under previous regulations in the second ordinance expires.

There are 340 short-term rentals registered in the city, but 1,300 to 1,400 are illegally operating, according to Councilman Lee Barnes.

The committee gave the option to look back at the ordinances in a year to see how it’s working.

“There may be a need to expand this,” Bunch, who sponsored the ordinances, told KSHB 41 on Wednesday. “I don’t know right now. What I know right now is we have neighborhoods that are completely saturated with short-term rentals and so this is where we’ve decided to draw the line right now.”

As the ordinances were previously written, owners had to live in their rentals if they were located in residential-zoned areas. Non-owner-occupied rentals could establish themselves in commercially zoned areas or any other areas not zoned for residential.

Now, non-resident short-term rentals are no longer allowed in residential-zoned areas. Previously approved non-resident short-term rentals are allowed to continue in residential districts, but new ones will not be permitted.

Owner-occupied short-term rentals are not limited to zoning restrictions.

There will be a one-year de-registration for any non-resident short-term rental in violation of city code and a three-year de-registration for three or more convictions under city code, state, or federal law and finding that the property presents a pervasive threat to or disregard for public health and safety.

Voters in KCMO approved the city’s plan to collect the 7.5% convention and tourism tax on short-term rentals during primary elections on April 4.

The city previously didn’t collect a convention and tourism tax or a lodging fee from short-term rentals as it does from hotels and motels.

A two-part, city-wide audit released last November showed the city’s inability to tax short-term rentals similar to hotels.

From July 2021 to August 2022, the Kansas City's Auditor Office estimates a loss of $2.28 million from the 7.5% convention and tourism tax.

KSHB 41 went 360 on short-term rentals last October, talking to people such as short-term rental users and neighbors living next to and above short-term rentals on the subject.