Tulsa city councilors to draft city ordinance addressing short-term home and room rentals

By: Rick Maranon

Updated:

TULSA, Okla. - Quick facts:

  • Tulsa city councilors say they will draft a new city ordinance addressing short-term home and room rentals.
  • The councilors held townhall meetings to hear residents' concerns.
  • The move comes after a rise in short-term rental use.

 

Two Tulsa city councilors say they will now start the process of drafting a new city ordinance that addresses the rise of short-term home and room rentals on apps like VRBO and AirBnB.

Tulsa City Councilors Blake Ewing and Ben Kimbro, who together represent downtown and midtown Tulsa, say they have seen the number of short term rentals continue to double year after year.

They say that, aside from apps that agree to collect hotel taxes, the city really doesn't have a way to address the rising home businesses.

After holding two townhall meetings, Ewing said he and Kimbro will sit down together with the city's legal department and begin taking recommendations they heard and putting together a new city ordinance to handle short-term rental operations and safeguards for neighbors living nearby.

Kimbro told FOX23 the turnout for the town halls was very good, and he found out some new concerns and recommendations that haven't been presented to him before.

Ewing and Kimbro said they want to take the same route the city took when addressing ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft and how they fit in with city ordinances around taxis.

That would mean, the app companies have the responsibility of checking insurance, collecting taxes, screening customers and screening those wanting to rent out homes and rooms.

The process to draft an ordinance like this and get it passed could take up to six months, and there will be more public meetings once the ordinance is drafted, so the public can see what is exactly being proposed for the future of short-term rentals in Tulsa.

Ewing noted that many of the short-term landlords have taken the apps they sell from seriously, and they treat their rooms and properties as any other business owner looking for clients would.

Both councilors agreed that some worst-case scenario concerns being brought up by opponents of short-term rentals can also easily happen under current legal long-term rentals, but what makes the circumstances different is simply the length of time.

Short-term renters insisted that the app not only lets them screen renters, but they could cancel an agreement if rental terms are violated.

A hotel industry representative was present at Wednesday's public meeting in downtown Tulsa and expressed interest in helping to draft an ordinance that is fair to everyone renting rooms in the city.


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