Neighborhoods

Denver Unveils New Rules for Short-Term Rentals

Today, April 10, the City of Denver will unveil new rules for short-term rentals.

“We are striking the right balance with sensible regulations that maximize the benefits of home sharing and welcome tourists to our city while minimizing the negative impacts on neighborhoods,” said Ashley Kilroy, executive director of Denver Excise and Licenses, in a statement announcing the changes.

The new rules further clarify what the city views as grounds for revocation of a short-term rental license, bolster the insurance requirements for a short-term rental like those found on Airbnb, and lay out how the city should be notified of any changes in ownership of a short-term rental property.

A short-term license can now be "revoked or sanctioned, and an application for a new license can be denied if a rental property is found to be adversely affecting the public health, safety, or welfare of the immediate neighborhood in which the property is located."


On March 20, Excise and Licenses revoked a short-term rental license for the first time in city history. The city alleged that the mansion that Garth Yettick was renting out, coined Marion Manor, wasn't actually his primary residence, a violation of city regulations. A primary residence is defined as "the usual place of return for housing as documented by at least two of the following: motor vehicle registration, driver’s license, Colorado state identification card, voter registration, tax documents, or a utility bill."

Short-term rental licensees must now hold a minimum of $1 million worth of liability insurance for the property and can either acquire an additional policy or conduct all transactions through a hosting platform, such as Airbnb, which already offers at least $1 million worth of coverage. Short-term rental operators must also notify both their home insurer and their HOA, if applicable, of their plans to start renting.

The new rules partially stem from public feedback and insight from the Short Term Rental Advisory Committee. The committee, which comprises hosts, non-hosts, lawmakers and industry stakeholders, met nineteen times between September 2016 and February 2019.

The city began issuing short-term rental licenses at the end of 2016 and now counts 2,574 active short-term rental license holders, up from 2,037 in April 2018 and 95 percent from just two years ago. Currently, 72 percent of short-term rental operators are in compliance, compared to 52 percent a year ago.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Conor McCormick-Cavanagh is a staff writer at Westword, where he covers a range of beats, including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves to talk New York sports.