ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The latest effort to regular Airbnbs and other short term rentals in the city of St. Louis will be introduced to the Board of Alderman on Friday.
Sixth Ward Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia said the city has received complaints about short term rental properties and regulations are needed.
Last year a plan to regulate short term rentals failed quickly. After that, Ingrassia said a series of town halls were held to hear from residents.
“Overwhelmingly people reported that some sort of regulation is of interest to them,” said Ingrassia. “We also heard from hosts who use platforms like Airbnb and VRBO so we are trying to balance out everyone's interest.”
The new proposal would require every short term rental to have a permit. That permit would $100 a year for owners living on their rental property and $200 for those living off site, also known as investor properties.
“I'd rather not have to pay a fee,” said Greg Elder, who manages and owns several Airbnbs in St. Louis. “When is enough, enough? How much money do they need from us?”
We asked Ingrassia where the money collected from the permit fees would go.
“The money that we expect likely to come in from this will allow the city to regulate, it won't give us any additional fees that is sort of a money-making scheme,” said Ingrassia.
Ingrassia said the money will help hire at least one new building inspector to enforce the rules. The city would also hire a third-party company to track the locations of short term rentals.
Also included in the proposed rules is that investor owned properties would be inspected every two years. A special task force would be formed to tweak policies as new issues arise.
Ingrassia claims all this would level the playing field for highly regulated, traditional bed and breakfasts.
“This is by no means an effort to prohibit short term rentals,” Ingrassia said. “We just want to make sure we know where they are and that they are being handled properly and the long term residents in these neighborhoods have a way to voice their concerns and a process.”
However, Elder contends the best oversight for many short term rentals is already in place by Airbnb.
“It's all ratings and reviews. If we fall below 4.75 reviews, we're not in the search engine,” said Elder. “I wish the city of St. Louis operated like that when it comes to cleaning up our streets or our alleys or fixing potholes.”
Ingrassia said short term rental owners would have three months to apply for a permit and the city would conduct inspections within a year.
For owners who don’t comply, the city could revoke a permit and would work to have the online listing removed.