Short-Term Rentals

The City is reviewing options for how to regulate properties being used as short-term rentals (i.e. Airbnb, VRBO). Before bringing back a draft ordinance to the City Commission, the City would like to hear from stakeholders and community members. All feedback collected will help guide staff through the development of a short-term rental ordinance.

How to Participate

Stakeholder Meeting

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall

View the Calendar Event

Email Feedback

Send written testimony to the city by October 13, 2017

Email Your Feedback

Take the Survey

Participate in a brief survey from September 26 through October 13, 2017

Complete the Survey

Work Session

Attend the City Commission Work Session on November 14, 2017

View the Calendar Event

Frequently Asked Questions

accommodations on a short-term basis where the property owner may or may not be present during the stay. While these have been around for a long time, improvements in technology and the expansion of the sharing economy has drastically increased the frequency in which they are used.
The sharing economy is centered around using personal resources more efficiently. Companies such as Uber and Airbnb provide a platform for people to share their resources more efficiently for a fee.
There are a number of companies that provide a platform to use STRs. Some of the most common companies include: Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey, etc.
STRs are not currently a permitted land use within the City of Lawrence. Enforcement of STRs is a complaint driven process.
There are approximately 130 active listings at any given point on Airbnb. The other STR platforms have STRs available but on a much smaller scale.
There are a number of potential benefits that STRs provide a community. STRs bring in additional revenues through sales tax and transient guest tax. They also give hosts additional income. This additional income can go towards mortgages, property improvements, property taxes, etc. Finally, STRs give visitors an alternative option to traditional accommodations and the ability to ‘live like a local’ while visiting Lawrence.
There are a number of potential concerns that STRs impose on a community. STRs by their very nature can lead neighbors wondering who is staying next door which can often lead to safety concerns. These safety concerns may be present for hosts, guest, and neighbors. Some communities have also seen impacts to affordable housing. Finally, there is often a concern that STRs may be used as a part house.
  1. Whether STRs should be limited to certain zoning districts.
  2. Whether STRs should be licensed and what the fee should be to cover costs of regulating the use.
  3. Whether a STR must be owner-occupied to participate.
  4. Whether certain housing types are more appropriate than others to accommodate STRs.
  5. Whether STRs require an inspection to ensure that life-safety systems are present and maintained (similar to the rental inspection program).
  6. Whether existing occupancy limits should be maintained for STRs.
  7. Whether STRs should be limited to a certain number of rental times per year.
  8. Whether there should be a limit on the number of units owned by individuals or corporations.
  9. Whether there should be notice to neighbors of the establishment of a STR.
  10. Whether owners shall provide contact info to the city and neighbors to address nuisance complaints and other issues that may arise with STRs.
  11. Whether proof of insurance should be required to operate a STR.
Staff is seeking input from community members and stakeholders to help in the development of a draft ordinance. Once feedback is collected, a draft ordinance will be brought forward to the City Commission; tentatively scheduled for the Nov. 14, 2017 work session. At this meeting, the draft ordinance will be presented, additional comments from the public will be heard, and staff will receive further direction on the policy and next steps.
Staff are requesting community members and stakeholders submit written testimony to Danielle Buschkoetter at dbuschkoetter@lawrenceks.org by October 13. This will help guide Staff through the development process. Additionally, there will be a survey available September 26 through October 13 at https://lawrenceks.org/lawrence-listens. Finally, stakeholders and community members are encouraged to attend the City Commission work session Nov. 14 for further discussion.