Council changes direction on short-term rental occupancy limits

Proposed ordinance would set limits based on square footage, not hard cap

Posted 12/2/18

City council's wrangling over how to regulate short-term home rentals in Littleton continued last week, as councilmembers hashed out the finer points of a proposed ordinance at the Nov. 27 study …

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Council changes direction on short-term rental occupancy limits

Proposed ordinance would set limits based on square footage, not hard cap

Posted

City council's wrangling over how to regulate short-term home rentals in Littleton continued last week, as councilmembers hashed out the finer points of a proposed ordinance at the Nov. 27 study session.

Council shifted direction on the proposed ordinance's occupancy limit, now proposing to set the number of guests allowed in a rental to one guest per 200 square feet of home size.

Council had previously directed staff to mandate that no more than five unrelated people could stay in one short-term rental, but some councilmembers found that regulation problematic.

“If you have a family of 14, that creates a loophole,” said Councilmember Kyle Schlachter.

Limiting guests to five unrelated people also didn't take into account the size of some homes that might easily accommodate more, said Councilmember Karina Elrod.

Council also debated how best to notify neighbors about the presence of nearby short-term rentals, and how to provide neighbors with emergency contacts in case of problems over issues like noise or parking.

The ordinance will likely include language limiting short-term rentals to one per owner, and require that the owner use the dwelling as their primary residence at least eight months out of the year.

City council first took up the issue in July, after a group of neighbors complained about a short-term rental on their block that they said was functioning as an unlicensed hotel and playing host to large parties.

The complaint exposed Littleton's lack of a formalized framework to regulate such rentals, and council enacted a three-month moratorium on new business licenses for short-term rentals in order to explore a draft ordinance. That moratorium was expanded in October, and is now expected to wrap up in January 2019.

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