Longmont Begins Imposing Short-term Rentals Regulations

February 20, 2019 GMT

Longmont short-term rentals

Information: Longmont’s requirements for short-term rentals, answers to frequently asked questions, and contact information can be viewed at bit.ly/LongmontShortTermRentals

Questions? People can call 303-651-8357 or email code.enforcement@longmontcolorado.gov .

Longmont has begun imposing and enforcing requirements for property owners who rent their homes to others for short periods through services like Airbnb.

Those short-term rental regulations, which now require owners who rent to get a city permit, stem from major updates to the city Land Development Code the City Council adopted last August .

Short-term rentals are frequently offered by homeowners through services like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO or FlipKey. According to a city news release, short-term rentals can include all or part of the owner’s primary residence or a separate accessory dwelling unit on the property. They cannot be rented for more than 30 days.

Planning and Development Services Director Joni Marsh said Tuesday that it took some time to get the system for administering the regulations in place.

She said the permitting program has been up and running for about a month, that “a couple of permits” have been issued and that about 15 applications are “in the hopper.”

However, a consultant has told the city that a recent check indicates there may be as many as 183 Longmont homeowners offering short-term rentals online, Marsh said.

The new regulations include requirements for an annual $100 permit and city inspections to ensure that rentals comply with building occupancy and life safety requirements and that they don’t create a nuisance for the surrounding neighborhood, according to a city news release.

All short-term rental dwelling units in Longmont now must get a city permit and a sales and use tax license, which includes a one-time $25 fee. Existing short-term rentals were not grandfathered in, so they are not excluded from the requirements. Unlicensed short-term rentals will be subject to code enforcement, notices of violation and shutdowns, officials said. Operating a short-term rental without a permit in violation of the city’s municipal code can result in fines of up $500 daily.

“We want people to voluntarily come into compliance,” Marsh said.

Longmont residents who own a second, or an investment, dwelling unit can also rent that unit for short terms, subject to occupancy limits and other city requirements. Property owners who do not live in Longmont may not offer property in Longmont for short-term rentals.

The occupancy of an entire dwelling being rented is limited to no more than two people per bedroom, plus two additional people. Each bedroom rented must be a legal conforming bedroom under the city code. Dwellings with more than five bedrooms rented for short-term rentals require a fire suppression sprinkler system.

Longmont also limits the number of short-term rentals allowed in most single-family neighborhoods.

For example, in the R-RU Residential Rural and R-SF Residential Single-Family zoning districts, no more than one short-term rental is permitted per block unless each additional short-term rental receives the city’s approval as a conditional use of the property.

Conditional use applications require a pre-application meeting with staff and a neighborhood meeting before submitting the application and the city review. Conditional use applications also require a public hearing review by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision is subject to appeal to the City Council.

The regulations include a number of the directives that City Council members agreed upon during a study-session discussion of short-term rentals last February.

That was preceded by staff and council discussion and input from Longmont residents dating as far back as 2016 and continuing into 2017.

People interested in offering their homes or other property as short-term rentals can submit an application online — through links on a city web page at bit.ly/LongmontShortTermRentals — or in person at the Development Services Center at 385 Kimbark St.

Contact Staff Writer John Fryar at 303-684-5211 or jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc