City of Topeka considering ordinance to tighten short term rental, Airbnb rules

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The City of Topeka will decide whether short term rentals like Airbnb or Vrbo homes need more regulations around them at their City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Short term rentals were once commonly known as bed and breakfasts. The big difference between traditional bed and breakfasts and Airbnbs is a crucial one: the homeowner typically hands over the key to the renter in a modern rental. In a bed and breakfast, the homeowner will be present and provide meals and services.

The City received complaints of a short term rental in the Auburndale neighborhood, west of the Potwin neighborhood roughly a year ago. The rental owner was given a citation and appealed, thus prompting the need to take a closer look at how to meet everyone’s needs by updating the code regulations.

The planning and development team invited known rental managers and about 500 residents that live within 200 feet of these rentals to give their input via different meetings.

“What the standards and the permit process do is they balance the needs of the operators and the owners and they reflect industry practices, but they also provide some protection to neighboring property owners,” said Current Planning Manager Mike Hall.

Hall says a clear definition of a ‘short term rental’ and ‘transient guest’ was needed, among creating more rules. Additionally, people who would like to rent out their homes will need to get an administrative permit.

At least six votes from the governing body are required to pass the ordinance.

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