KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Council decided to put two questions about fees for short-term rentals to voters in April while promising to take more steps to regulate those businesses.
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.
The lodging tax would treat traditional hotel rooms and short-term rentals, like what can be booked on Airbnb, in the same way.
“The people who are commenting and legitimately expressing concerns that we aren’t doing enough about short-term rentals, I can assure you that this is just one step of several that we will be taking in order to help alleviate the pressure that short-term rentals are putting on our community,” said Councilman Eric Bunch.
Residents in Columbus Park are watching that promise closely.
“It’s been very frustrating because there are so many Airbnb’s operating in Columbus Park and I think two out of 30, roughly, are the only ones that are licensed,” said Columbus Park resident and building owner Dan Wayne.
He says it’s changing the composition of the neighborhood that he’s lived in for roughly two decades because the tight-knit, neighborly community has more and more visitors staying only for a weekend or few days.
Wayne says when converted his building into condo units, he could have sold the entire building to people trying to operate short-term rentals out of it, even though it wasn’t permitted. Wayne decided not to, but he says the demand is still being felt all around Columbus Park.
“A lot of investors are coming in, they’re paying full price or over full price and, in the process, they’re displacing renters or people who are maybe buying their first home,” Wayne said.
Residents hope future steps from the city will include making unregistered short-term rental properties get licensed or shut them down.