OKC Short Term Rental Properties
Posted on Apr 20th, 2023
On January 15th, the City of Oklahoma City Council adopted new ordinances covering short-term rental property after a year of negotiations. These properties, also known as Airbnb after the company that expanded the use of short-term rentals across the country, has grown significantly in Oklahoma City.
In response to this growth, the City wanted to address issues being raised by homeowners who live next to these properties, as well as owners of properties in historic preservation neighborhood. These entities initially voiced concern around noise, late night parties, traffic and possible changes to the look and feel of neighborhoods.
When proposed ordinance in 2018 failed to gain support from either side, Councilman Mark Stonecipher worked with Councilwoman Meg Salyer to broker a deal among non and historic preservation neighborhood groups, short term rental operators and Airbnb. The issues they addressed included safety standards, the presence of hosts while renting, and annual license fees.
After a series of meetings, the ordinances adopted on January 15th were the results of those conversations. Stonecipher said he was glad to come up with a local solution that pleased most parties before the state Legislature stepped in to pre-empt everything with state laws.
The city’s ordinances now require that anyone operating a short-term rental must get a license for an annual fee of $24. However, the ordinance amendments did create special requirements called special exceptions. Under this provision, those located in designated historic preservation districts would have to obtain a special exception from the Board of Adjustment to operate as a short-term rental. Also, short term rentals in non-historic preservation districts whose owners have more than one short term rental would be required to get a special exception for each additional property. The fee was dropped from a proposed $1,200 to $300.
The ordinance now includes safety requirements that short-term rental property hosts install smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors. This was a compromise relating to what safety requirements should be in place to help insure the safety of guest.
The City did make some modifications that would limit the impact on current operators. If they can prove they are already actively renting short term rental property, they are protected from most of the changes under a grandfather clause for at least 10 years.
The City Attorney stated in her remarks also noted that because this is new and there is not much history, variances could still be requested by appealing to the Oklahoma City Board of Adjustments ordinance.
In an article in the Journal Record, Airbnb is becoming a significant contributor to the economy’s tax base. In August, the company reported it had generated $1.1 million of sales and lodging taxes during the first year of a new tax agreement with the state of Oklahoma.