KCMO council to discuss proposals restricting short-term rentals

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 8:04 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Short-term rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo could face tighter restrictions aimed at reducing neighborhood complaints about unlicensed units.

The Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee advanced two proposals Wednesday that would improve enforcement of unlicensed units, move oversight of short-term rentals to the city’s neighborhoods department, and limit new rentals to owner-occupied units.

Eric Bunch, the council member who proposed both measures, said short-term rentals have become a problem in the fourth district and across the city. He said the properties were partly to blame for increased rent and housing costs in several neighborhoods, and had become nuisances to surrounding properties in some instances.

“Parties are happening,” Bunch said. “We’re seeing disruptions to neighborhoods.”

Leonard Graham, a Union Hill resident, has been concerned about a growing number of short-term rentals in the city, including one next door to his house.

“There’s always somebody different,” Graham said. “It’s kind of like living in a hotel, but we didn’t sign up for a hotel.”

On the other side of the debate are property owners and managers like Kristen Doppelt. Doppelt manages several dozen short-term rental properties in the area and is president of the KC Short-Term Rental Alliance.

Doppelt said the city had not engaged with operators as it drafted policy and that the two proposals advanced Wednesday were too restrictive. Most short-term rentals in the city are not owner-occupied, which means that limiting the industry to owner-occupied units would effectively eliminate businesses from placing new properties for rent.

“It will effectively ban them,” she said. “It says they are not allowed in residential zones.”

Doppelt acknowledged a need for better regulation and enforcement of Airbnb licensing, but had hoped that the committee would reach a less restrictive compromise.

“This industry is made of Kansas City residents. We’re Kansas City businesses,” Doppelt said. “We want to be able to operate in the city and continue on with what they’re doing.”