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New Ordinances Regarding Airbnb

On January 15th, the City of Oklahoma City Council adopted new ordinances covering short-term rental property after a year of negotiations. These properties, also known as Airbnb after the company that expanded the use of short-term rentals across the country, has grown significantly in Oklahoma City.

In response to this growth, the City wanted to address issues being raised by homeowners who live next to these properties, as well as owners of properties in historic preservation neighborhood. These entities initially voiced concern around noise, late night parties, traffic and possible changes to the look and feel of neighborhoods.

When proposed ordinance in 2018 failed to gain support from either side, Councilman Mark Stonecipher worked with Councilwoman Meg Salyer to broker a deal among non and historic preservation neighborhood groups, short term rental operators and Airbnb. The issues they addressed included safety standards, the presence of hosts while renting, and annual license fees.

After a series of meetings, the ordinances adopted on January 15th were the results of those conversations. Stonecipher said he was glad to come up with a local solution that pleased most parties before the state Legislature stepped in to pre-empt everything with state laws.

The city’s ordinances now require that anyone operating a short-term rental must get a license for an annual fee of $24. However, the ordinance amendments did create special requirements called special exceptions. Under this provision, those located in designated historic preservation districts would have to obtain a special exception from the Board of Adjustment to operate as a short-term rental. Also, short term rentals in non-historic preservation districts whose owners have more than one short term rental would be required to get a special exception for each additional property. The fee was dropped from a proposed $1,200 to $300.

The ordinance now includes safety requirements that short-term rental property hosts install smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors. This was a compromise relating to what safety requirements should be in place to help insure the safety of guest.

The City did make some modifications that would limit the impact on current operators. If they can prove they are already actively renting short term rental property, they are protected from most of the changes under a grandfather clause for at least 10 years.

The City Attorney stated in her remarks also noted that because this is new and there is not much history, variances could still be requested by appealing to the Oklahoma City Board of Adjustments ordinance.

In an article in the Journal Record, Airbnb is becoming a significant contributor to the economy’s tax base. In August, the company reported it had generated $1.1 million of sales and lodging taxes during the first year of a new tax agreement with the state of Oklahoma.

Language amending the ordinance is below:

§ 59-8300.51.1 Lodging Accommodations: Home Sharing:

Lodging accommodations that are provided in a dwelling or room(s) in a dwelling for rent for a temporary period of time not to exceed more than 30 consecutive days per renter/guest. \vhere the owner/ host may or may not reside and the dwelling is the host’s primary residence; provided if the dwelling is located within a Historic Preservation District or said dwelling is not the primary residence of the host. a special exception must be obtained from the Board of Adjustment The use of a dwelling for such purpose must meet the use standards of Section 9350.38.1 Lodging Accommodations: Home Sharing

§ 59-9350.38.1. Lodging Accommodations: Home Sharing.

A. The rental of the entire home or bedroom(s) may not exceed 30 consecutive days per renter/guest.

B. The owner/host shall be required to comply with any applicable building or fire codes adopted by the City, including but not limited to working smoke detectors. a carbon monoxide detector and a functioning fire extinguisher

C. The owner/host must obtain a home sharing license.

D. All applicable fees and taxes must be collected and paid.

E. A special exception must be obtained for home sharing where the property:

(1) is not the primary residence of the host; or

(2) is located within the boundaries of a Historic Preservation District. in which case the property shall be the host’s primary residence and occupied by the host at the time of the rental.

Provided. a special exception shall not be required for any property at which, prior to January 15, 2019, lodging accommodations in a dwelling or room(s) in a dwelling were provided for rent for a temporary period of time not exceeding 30 consecutive days per guest and for which a home sharing license has been granted by the Supervisor of Licenses pursuant to Section 13-510 of this Code.

A special exception pursuant to Subsection E of this section may be granted for a maximum period of ten (10) years. When the time period expires, if the applicant desires to continue the use, the applicant shall file a new application for a special exception and have the case reviewed by the Board of Adjustment.

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