KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The debate on taxing short-term rentals in Kansas City, Missouri, continues.

On Friday, city leaders explained why they decided to add two questions about the tax on the April ballot.

“That’s why I think a lot of our lodging interest in Kansas City has said we’re not necessarily against them we just want them to be fair,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said.

A tax for short term rentals is what some leaders said will make it right.

“No longer should it be that people have to deal with issues relating to Airbnb and getting no answers from city hall,” Lucas said.

In April, voters will decide if the city should increase the cost to license a short-term rental location and if the city should create a new lodging tax.

“What we don’t feel it’s our position to dictate what a resident can do with their property,” Andrea O’Hara, executive director of Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Kansas City.

“As homeowners we do understand the concerns and challenges that it can create for a neighborhood. And so, we feel this step to implement the new sales tax or fee is a great step in the right direction for both.”

A recent audit shows there’s nearly 2,000 unlicensed short-term rentals.

If they were required to pay the extra money, it would generate $13 million in the next five years.

Some said it’s not fair hotels and motels are paying fees and short-term rentals aren’t.
The extra fees would be paid by visitors and not residents.

“We’ve heard number one it’s very difficult to get a house these days, it’s difficult to buy a house it’s, difficult to find affordable housing to rent,” Councilman Eric Bunch said.

City leaders said this is just the beginning. The city is working on how it can identify every short term rental and make rules.