Proposal would regulate AirBNBs in Lexington – Public hearing set

Lexington, KY–The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29 to hear public feedback on a new ordinance regulating AirBNBs and other short-term rentals, which have become increasingly popular in recent years.

A draft proposal that will be shown at the meeting

According to a Herald-Leader report, the ordinance would require all short-term landlords to pay a $200 license fee to the city and file an annual report documenting the number of stays. Landlords with multiple rentals will pay $200 for the first and an additional $100 license fee for each additional property.

Each rental would also get a registration number with the city that must be listed in all online ads. Failure to display the number in ads would result in fines from the city.

The Herald-Leader gives some additional details:

  • The city has an agreement with Airbnb and Expedia, which includes VRBO, to remit local hotel taxes to Fayette County. Those taxes go to Visit Lex, the city’s tourism group, and also helps pay off debt from the $350 million expansion of Central Bank Center.
  • Lexington collected $970,000 from short-term rental platforms in 2021, more than twice the $400,000 it got in 2020.
  • Short-term rental operators that host on platforms other than Airbnb, VRBO and Expedia would have to remit those hotel taxes to the city. Traditional brick-and-mortar hotels have long said short-term rental operators that don’t pay those hotel taxes have a competitive advantage.
  • Moreover, some Lexington neighborhoods, particularly downtown, have seen a proliferation of short-term rentals, which some worry will detract from the character of the neighborhood. Others worry too many landlords are taking former traditional rental properties and turning them into short-term rentals, creating a supply-crunch in the rental market, and in turn driving up rents.
  • Short-term rental operators have complained the city’s proposal is too onerous because it requires operators supply the city with all of its rental contracts. Others said they largely operate on Airbnb and VRBO and therefore are paying local hotel taxes, commonly referred to as transient room taxes.

Another recent HL article points out that, currently, no one actually knows how many AirBNBs there really are in Lexington.

You can download the full proposed ordinance and regulations below: