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Covington will require licenses for Airbnbs, other short-term rental units

Hear Cincinnati: Airbnb rentals causing problems in Mt. Adams
Posted at 6:04 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 18:12:22-05

COVINGTON, Ky. — Covington will soon require city licenses for owners or "hosts" of Airbnbs and other short-term rental units.

Covington’s Board of Commissioners adopted new procedures Tuesday to gather information about the more than 200 short-term listings operating in the city, and to “establish a regulatory framework whose common-sense rules seek to prevent problems with neighbors and ensure the safety of those who pay to rent them.”

“The City wants to balance the concerns of the neighborhoods with the ability of people to operate a unique business, while also protecting the health and safety of people who rent them,” solicitor Michael Bartlett said in a news release.

Hosts must obtain an annual Short-Term Rental Dwelling License from Covington’s Neighborhood Services Department for each parcel. Code enforcement officers will inspect the units before licenses are granted, and an application for the licenses will be available soon on the city’s website.

Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith said applicants will be granted a grace period due to the initial influx of applications, which will create a backlog for inspections.

Until an inspection can be completed, otherwise successful applicants will be granted a temporary, three-month provisional license that could later be converted to a regular short-term rental dwelling license, according to a city release.

Hosts must also secure an occupational license from Covington's Finance Department.

In its release, the city defined short-term rentals "as residential dwellings offered to tenants for a fee for rental periods of 29 days or less."

The short-term rental industry has so far operated without regulation in Covington except for existing nuisance laws.

Cincinnati City Council passed its own regulations for short-term rentals in 2019 requiring permits and an excise tax on owners.