Airbnb: It might be harder for you to offer a short-term vacation rental with proposed Cincinnati City Council regulations
A recently proposed City Council ordinance could leave operators of short-term rental properties like Airbnb with a new set of regulations — and a whole new set of costs.
The ordinance, proposed by Cincinnati Councilman David Mann, is based on an original plan from March. The new version is set to be discussed at a council committee meeting Tuesday. .
It outlined restrictions on Airbnb and other similar short-term rental companies like VRBO and HomeAway, stemming from concerns about affordable housing availability in Cincinnati that mirror worries in larger cities.
Operators who rent out a room in their home wouldn’t be subject to many regulations, but those who rent out entire properties would face more.
About 67 percent of Airbnbs in Cincinnati are entire-home rentals, according to AIRDNA, a website that tracks Airbnb rental statistics.
Mann calls units where operators rent out an entire home an “unhosted” unit. When an operator rents out a separate room in their own home, he calls it a “hosted” unit.
In terms of affordable housing availability, unhosted rental types are what concern Mann the most.
“People are saying, well this isn’t New York City or San Francisco,” he said. “Well, we’re kind of on the way.”
The key provisions:
- Owners would be limited to three unhosted units they can rent any time, with the exception of grandfathering those who already own more than three. (That’s a change from the original plan, which would have let owners rent any number of units only three months out of the year.)
- All short-term rentals, hosted and unhosted, would have to register with the city administration to be available to rent with a fee. That will be set later.
- Operators of unhosted units would acquire a license for their rental that will be renewed every three years. They would also have to get certification from an engineer or architect to confirm building, zoning, housing and fire codes are being complied with.
- A 7 percent excise tax charged to operators would be dedicated to affordable housing preservation and development, as well as eviction preservation in the city.
- Units with three complaints of “nuisances” would not be permitted to operate. That includes complaints of noise level, exceeding maximum occupancy levels of a building, criminal activity and illegal parking.
Mann is concerned about neighborhoods with high quantities of short-term rentals like Over-the-Rhine, Walnut Hills, and Clifton. In the city’s central 45202 Zip Code, for example, 175 of 199 of Airbnbs are entire-home rentals, according to AIRDNA.
“The new ordinance is a step in the right direction, but it still contains too much of what I’ll call basically unnecessary regulation,” Airbnb operator Chris Hikel said. “I think there’s more work that needs to be done before we can support it.”