By Andrea Flores
DENVER (CBS4) – It’s been one month since the City of Denver started enforcing licenses for short-term rental hosts through sites like Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner).
“We have 875 licenses, which we think is about 28 percent of short-term rentals in Denver,” said Denver Excise and License’s Dan Rowland.
The city says from a compliance rate perspective, 28 percent puts Denver ahead of peer cities like San Francisco, Portland, Nashville and Austin.
With an estimated 3,100 rental properties in Denver, the city wants to make sure they’re up to code.
With the help of Host Compliance, a software program, they’re able to comb through listings.
“We now have contact information for the owner, we know the address, then we’re able to go in and verify, ‘Are they licensed?’ or ‘Do we need to send them a notification in order to get them licensed?'” Rowland said.
If they find hosts without a license, the city says they are given a Notice of Violation. It gives hosts 14 day to get a license. If hosts don’t have one by then, fines can start at $150 and increase up to $1,000 if not taken care of in time.
Airbnb host Buffy Gilfoil says the ordinance offers some safety.
“I think a lot of hosts are really glad that we’re regulated, we have the support of the city, and I think that both Airbnb and the city are doing an excellent job of supporting hosts,” Gilfoil said.
Hosts are still responsible for collecting a 10.75 percent Lodger’s Tax.
“Right now, the Denver municipal code doesn’t allow for a third-party vendor to collect on somebody else’s behalf,” said Denver Department of Finance’s Courtney Law.
Law says plans are in the works to come to an agreement on tax collection with sites like Airbnb and VRBO.
While the city works on a deal, hosts hope tax changes won’t affect renter’s habits.
“It may be, with the taxes kicking in, that people would prefer to stay in a hotel,” Gilfoil said. “We’ll just have to see.”