Des Moines City Council Proposes Relaxing Regulations on Short Term Rentals

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Last September, the Des Moines City Council put new regulations on short term housing rentals, affecting companies like Airbnb.

Those regulations implemented included requiring renters to have lived in the property they're renting out, limit the number of units one can operate, the distance between those units, and how long a housing unit can be used as a rental.

Monday night the council will be taking comments from the community and doing a short presentation on exactly why they want to loosen these regulations.

Neighborhood Inspection Administrator SuAnn Donovan said the zoning code passed last year was put in place to regulate and lessen the impact of short term rentals in Des Moines neighborhoods. The goal was also to address some of the affordable housing concerns that short term rentals brought to the community.

After hearing feedback from the community, the city questioned whether some of these regulations were too strict on the more than 300 short term rentals in the metro area.

So, Monday night they are revealing a plan to eliminate some of those rules while keeping others to help protect the community.

The city is planning to still require renters to have a special use permit and approval from the Board of Adjustment to ensure good behavior. Donovan said Des Moines has had problems with Airbnbs disturbing the neighborhood in the past and the city wants to continue to monitor this.

“They'll have parties, they're loud, they're disruptive, they parked too many cars in the neighborhood, and it impacts the livability of the people in the neighborhood. So we're trying to reach a balance between allowing short term rentals and still protecting our neighborhoods,” Donovan said.

Another regulation the city hopes to keep is a requirement that limits the rentals to only 10% of apartment complexes. Donovan said having too many short term rentals in one complex drives the rental market price up, making the cost less affordable for Iowans.

The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the MSC Board Room located at 1551 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

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