Fort Collins: Short-term Regulation on Horizon

The City is considering a plan to license short-term rentals. Airbnb estimates it has 200 active renters in the Fort Collins area. Staff estimates 4.4 percent of homes in the City are rented on a short-term basis. Currently, homeowners are supposed to obtain both a sales tax license and a lodging tax license, however, it is difficult for the City to enforce these requirements.

Ginny Sawyer, the City’s Policy and Project Manager, admitted data on short-term rentals is difficult to verify nonetheless, staff has come up with a framework for a licensing program, which will be presented to City Council on July 12. It will include a $200 license application fee, parking requirements (one space per bedroom) and homeowner’s insurance. The licenses will be limited to one per block face in certain zones (the NC Low Density and NC Medium Density neighborhoods). If the ordinance is approved the City will police websites such as Airbnb and VRBO using contractors who provide this service.

Licensing short-term rentals is trendy. Denver and Boulder already have ordinances on the books. But the question is, how big of a problem is this in Fort Collins? Staff can provide no data on the number of complaints it receives. The City is currently soliciting feedback on the topic through June 30 which will be shared with the City Council at the July 12 work session. Note: The Fort Collins Board of REALTORS has not finalized its position on the issue.

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