Kansas Metropolis will take away unregistered Airbnb leases Friday


An Airbnb offering in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Kansas City is seen in 2017.

An Airbnb providing within the Hyde Park neighborhood of Kansas Metropolis is seen in 2017.

tljungblad@kcstar.com

Vacation rental giant Airbnb lists “over 1,000” places to stay in Kansas City. But by tomorrow, nearly half of that number could be gone.

It’s all due to Kansas City’s recent ordinance governing short-term rentals within city limits.

The rule, which went into effect on June 15, requires hosts to register their short-term rentals with the city and follow new rules like data reporting, added safety measures and paying a flat fee and a city tax on each unit.

As of Tuesday, only 539 units had registered as short-term rental locations. The rest will no longer be allowed to operate or advertise their services on booking sites like Airbnb and Vrbo once the city’s three-month grace period ends Friday.

“We’ve actually already sent the list to the different booking platforms,” said Forest Decker, director of the city’s Neighborhood Services Department. “We are kind of stepping up our level of aggressiveness.”

Under the ordinance, booking platforms risk violating the city ordinance if they receive money from an unregistered rental location. Each day an unregistered rental unit operates can count as a separate violation, carrying a fine of up to $1,000.

The new requirements for short-term rentals attempt to address years of complaints by Kansas City residents, many of them homeowners, who say the unchecked proliferation of these units harms the character of their neighborhoods.

Common concerns included noise complaints from rowdy gatherings and increased ownership by out-of-state investors profiting off tourist dollars rather than permanent residents putting down roots in the community.

How many short-term rental units will be removed this Friday?

Decker told The Star that 493 unregistered rental units will be the first to go.

That’s just under 48% of the combined 1,032 registered and unregistered short-term rentals in the city.

“This is just kind of the first big list,” Decker said, adding that he expects more unregistered units to pop up on booking sites in the future. His staff at the Neighborhood Services Department is already checking online booking platforms “on a daily basis” to catch violations.

Guests already booked to stay at an unregistered rental could see their reservations canceled — although Decker says the city won’t kick visitors out. Instead, units will be removed from booking sites on Friday and hosts will be given one last chance to register with the city within ten days.

If they still don’t comply, hosts could face fines of up to $1,000 for each day an unregistered unit continues to operate.

The city’s publicly available list of registered short-term rentals includes around 226 units that have registered with the city in the last three months.

The other 313 were already registered with the city before the ordinance went into effect earlier this year, but will still have to renew their registrations annually under the new rules.

What new rules do short-term rentals have to follow?

In order to register a unit as a short-term rental in Kansas City, hosts must provide their contact information and a $200 annual registration fee to the city’s Neighborhood Services Department.

Renters also need to provide permission from their landlord in order to register their home, and hosts who don’t live in the units they are renting need a business license in order to register.

Short-term rental units and the people overseeing them also have to follow new safety and reporting guidelines:

  • Hosts can’t list short-term rentals as spaces for parties, meetings or other events

  • Hosts can’t prepare or serve food to their short-term rental guests

  • Units can’t have more than eight people staying in them at any time, and can’t exceed two people per bedroom plus one additional person

  • Units must have smoke alarms, a fire extinguisher, a working flashlight in case of power outages and display emergency contact numbers and a map of emergency exits

  • Hosts must provide an explanation if they have ever been banned from renting out a short-term rental unit somewhere other than Kansas City

How many short-term rentals are allowed in my building or neighborhood?

Kansas City’s new ordinance places some restrictions on short-term rental units in the city.

One of the most notable is that non-resident rentals, or units where the host does not actually live, are no longer allowed in residential neighborhoods.

The exception is non-resident units that were already registered to operate in residential neighborhoods before the ordinance went into practice. These “grandfathered” units must still register annually with the city, but are exempt from the new zoning and density restrictions until their old registrations expire.

You can find out the zoning category of your neighborhood through the city’s parcel viewer.

Areas in other zoning categories, like urban or commercial areas, still allow non-resident rental units with some restrictions. For instance, non-resident units can’t be added to a building where these units already make up one eighth or more of the units in the building.

These zoning and density restrictions are intended to prevent short-term rentals — especially those operated by people who don’t actually live in them — from proliferating unchecked in Kansas City.

“I’m sure the delisting will make some people pretty happy that were very outspoken against short-term rentals,” Decker said. “But just because they’re delisted doesn’t mean they’re delisted forever. It just means that they can’t advertise until they are legally registered.”

Can unregistered short-term rentals still operate without advertising on booking sites?

No — all short-term rentals must register with the city in order to operate.

Hosts can register their rental units through the city’s website, and call the Neighborhood Services Department at 816-513-3226 with questions.

“If we can gather credible evidence that they’re still operating, even though they are delisted, then we could pursue them for an ordinance violation,” Decker said.

He added that neighbors can report unregistered short-term rentals or nuisance rental units to the city by calling 311.

“What I would hope is that a lot of those (unregistered units) have just overlooked their registration, and that they are operating otherwise legally and that we can bring them into compliance pretty quickly,” he said.

Do you have more questions about short-term rentals in Kansas City? Ask the Service Journalism team at kcq@kcstar.com.

Associated tales from Kansas Metropolis Star

Natalie Wallington is a reporter on The Star’s service journalism staff answering Kansas Metropolis’s questions on the price of dwelling, environmental points, native utilities, LGBTQ+ rights and the way Kansas and Missouri legal guidelines affect you. Her previous work has appeared within the Washington Submit, the Guardian, VICE Information, Fashionable Science and elsewhere.



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