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Lawrence Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Lawrence, Kansas

What are short term rental (Airbnb, VRBO) regulations in Lawrence,Kansas?

Operating a short-term rental (STR) business comes with its fair share of regulations. As a host in Lawrence, Kansas, it’s essential to educate yourself on local requirements to ensure smooth operations and avoid any penalties. This article will clearly outline key regulations for STRs in Lawrence so hosts can successfully start and run their business.

We’ll cut through the municipal legalese to focus on need-to-know licensing rules, taxes, zoning restrictions, and health/safety policies. You’ll learn straightforward steps to register your rental, understand occupancy limits, and remit taxes properly to the city. We’ll also provide direct contact details for licensing departments and insight from local hosts on enforcement policies.

Whether you currently run an STR in Lawrence or are aspiring to start one, use this guide to steer clear of confusion over city statutes. Our goal is to enable hosts to thrive within clear regulatory boundaries through comprehensive yet easily digestible guidance. With the proper information in hand, hosts can pursue compliant and financially fruitful short-term rental enterprises across Lawrence. Let’s dive in!

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Lawrence

Renting out your Lawrence property on a short-term basis can be an appealing way to earn extra income. However, hosts need to educate themselves and comply with local regulations in order to operate legally and successfully.

As an aspiring short term rental host in Lawrence, you must follow four key steps:

1. Research the Rules Thoroughly

Before listing your Lawrence property on Airbnb, VRBO or other platforms, you need to research and understand all local short term rental regulations. Be sure to check:

  • Zoning restrictions on non-owner occupied rentals
  • Licensing and application requirements
  • Safety standards and inspection criteria
  • Tax collection and reporting obligations

Review all rules published by the Lawrence Planning & Development Services department. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for non-compliance.

2. Obtain Proper Licensing

Submit your short term rental license application with all required documents well in advance of your desired listing date. This includes floor plans, proof of ownership, parking details, and more. Applications can take 30-60 days to process. Approval is also contingent on passing an in-person inspection.

3. Comply Fully with Legal Standards

Once licensed, continue to comply with all short term rental rules and restrictions in Lawrence. This includes limits on occupancy, noise, parking, safety standards and more. Keep accurate records for tax purposes. Consider joining the local short term rental association for support.

4. Operate Professionally

As a short term rental host, you are running a business. Conduct yourself professionally in all guest interactions. Maintain your rental calendar and listing accurately. Invest to keep your property clean, comfortable and appealing. Adhere to licensing and tax rules. This helps avoid penalties and ensures smooth operations.

By following these four steps, you can start your Lawrence short term rental business successfully and legally. Reach out to the city's Planning & Development Services with any regulation questions or to begin the licensing process today.Copy LinkShareRewrite this answerRewrite\

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Lawrence

As a short term rental host in Lawrence, acquiring an annual license from the city is mandatory prior to listing or renting out your property. This is not optional. Lawrence city statute clearly states that "it shall be unlawful for any person to operate a short term rental without a current valid license" ().

While some new hosts underestimate or brush over this requirement, doing so can lead to stiff penalties if caught. Unlicensed properties are subject to fines of $1,000 per violation day, in addition to potential criminal charges (). Further, listings without a license number included are removed from platforms like Airbnb.

The licensing process provides oversight and helps ensure safety standards are met. This includes submitting a detailed application, passing inspections related to fire, building codes, and more. Licenses must be renewed each year through a similar review.

In summary, every short term rental in Lawrence must display a valid license number when advertising and accepting bookings. Skirting this obligation is not advised and the majority of experienced local hosts urge strict compliance. Those with questions about requirements should contact the Planning & Development Services department prior to listing their property.

Required Documents for Lawrence Short Term Rentals

Operating a compliant and licensed short term rental in Lawrence requires hosts to submit several key documents as part of the application process. Preparing these materials in advance will ensure your application is complete and help speed up approval.The Lawrence Planning and Development Services department outlines 4 essential documents all hosts must provide to obtain an annual short term rental license:

Short Term Rental License Application

This main application form collects basic information on your rental property and your contact details as the host/owner. It allows the city to track all short term rentals.You'll need to provide specifics like:

  • Owner and applicant names
  • Rental property address
  • Type of rental (entire home or private/shared room)
  • Number of bedrooms and max occupancy
  • Confirmation of zoning district

Owner's Consent Form

If the person applying for the short term rental license is not the property owner, you must provide an owner's consent form authorizing rental activities. This is essential if you plan to host on behalf of an owner.

Floor Plan

To verify life safety standards, the city requires a floor plan for each short term rental unit you plan to license. This must accurately detail:

  • Bedrooms
  • Windows
  • Exit routes
  • Smoke detectors
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Carbon monoxide detectors

Drafting a clear, measured floor plan demonstrates you meet requirements.

Site Plan Showing Off-Street Parking

Importantly, your short term rental property must comply with parking minimums in Lawrence. Your site plan should indicate available on-site parking spots relative to the number of bedrooms offered.Following these policies ensures your rental license application is complete! Reach out with any other questions.

Lawrence Short Term Rental Taxes

As a short term rental host operating in Lawrence, you are responsible for collecting and remitting several applicable taxes on booked rentals. This is mandatory in order to comply with city, county, and state tax requirements.

Specifically, the following taxes must be collected from guests and then submitted on a regular basis:State Sales Tax

  • 6.5% tax rate
  • Collected on rental proceeds
  • Remitted to Kansas Department of Revenue

Local Sales Tax

  • 1.25% tax rate
  • Collected on rental proceeds
  • Remitted to City of Lawrence

Transient Guest Tax

  • 6% tax rate
  • Collected on rental proceeds
  • Remitted to City of Lawrence

In total, a 13.75% tax rate applies to short term rental proceeds in Lawrence. These taxes are imposed on the total rental charges paid by guests, before any other fees or expenses.

As a host, you should register with both the Kansas Department of Revenue and City of Lawrence to collect and remit taxes properly. Most booking platforms like Airbnb also have tools to help hosts with tax collection and payments. Proper tax compliance is mandatory - failure to do so can result in penalties, interest charges, or other enforcement action.

Lawrence wide Short Term Rental Rules

The city of Lawrence has implemented regulations that apply broadly to short term rental properties across the area. As a host, it is crucial to understand and comply with these rules.

Occupancy Limits The maximum occupancy for a short term rental unit depends on the number of bedrooms, as follows:

  • 1 bedroom: 2 guests
  • 2 bedrooms: 4 guests
  • 3 bedrooms: 6 guests
  • 4+ bedrooms: 8 guests

These limits have been set from a safety perspective, to prevent overcrowding. Exceeding the occupancy can result in penalties, fines, or license revocation.

Parking Rules Sufficient off-street parking must be provided based on the number of bedrooms:

  • 1 bedroom unit: 1 parking space
  • 2 bedroom unit: 2 parking spaces
  • 3 bedroom unit: 3 parking spaces
  • 4+ bedroom unit: 4 parking spaces

Parking is not permitted on lawns or blocking sidewalks. Fines can be issued for non-compliance.

Noise and Nuisance Restrictions Renters must comply with city noise and nuisance rules. Excessive late night noise, parties, fighting, littering, etc. are prohibited. As the host, you are responsible for the behavior of your guests. Multiple noise complaints can jeopardize your rental license.

Safety StandardsShort term rentals in Lawrence must meet baseline safety requirements related to smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, handrails, exits, electrical safety, sanitation, and more. Non-compliance can prevent licensing approval.

Does Lawrence strictly enforce STR rules?” Is Lawrence Airbnb friendly?

Lawrence does enforce its short term rental rules, but takes a middle-of-the-road approach. The city requires licensing and inspections to operate legally, issuing fines and revoking licenses for those caught violating regulations. However, Lawrence aims more to bring hosts into compliance rather than shut them down entirely.

The city adopted short term rental ordinances to address resident complaints about issues like noise, parking, and "party houses" disrupting neighborhoods. The regulations intend to allow short term rentals while mitigating community impacts. Lawrence limits non-owner occupied rentals but does permit hosted home shares.

Overall, Lawrence strikes a balance between enabling short term rental businesses and protecting neighborhoods. The city enforces rules consistently by requiring hosts register and meet safety standards. However, Lawrence's licensing process works with hosts to operate legally instead of banning short term rentals entirely. Fines and penalties primarily focus on unregistered or problem properties.

Compared to cities who ban short term rentals, Lawrence takes an Airbnb-friendly approach. Hosts describe local regulations as reasonable and workable when factoring licensing costs into their business models. Registered hosts who follow the rules can successfully operate short term rentals in Lawrence. However, unregistered hosts do risk fines and citations if caught by enforcement authorities.

In summary, Lawrence does enforce short term rental rules but aims more for compliance over outright bans. The city works with hosts to operate legally instead of prohibiting short term rentals altogether. This balanced approach makes Lawrence a moderately Airbnb-friendly market compared to heavily restrictive cities.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Lawrence

Starting a profitable and legal short-term rental business in Lawrence requires some planning and preparation but is very achievable if you follow these straightforward steps:

Step 1: Research the Rules Thoroughly Before anything else, read through all of Lawrence's short-term rental regulations, licensing requirements, taxes, and zoning restrictions. You can find these on the city's website or reach out to the contacts provided in this article. Understanding the local laws is crucial.

Step 2: Evaluate Your Property Make sure your rental property, whether it's a spare room, basement apartment, or entire home, complies with Lawrence's safety standards, parking requirements, and zoning rules based on location. Adjust or upgrade anything needed to pass inspections.

Step 3: Complete Licensing Application & Inspections Submit your short-term rental license application, floor plans, consent forms, and $35 fee to the city. Schedule an inspection and make any corrections needed to comply. You cannot legally operate without an approved license.

Step 4: Handle Tax Registration Contact the Kansas Department of Revenue to register for tax IDs to collect and remit sales, transient guest, and other applicable taxes on bookings. Lawrence also has local sales tax. Stay on top of tax filings.

Step 5: Furnish & Photograph Your Rental Make sure your rental space is clean, comfortable, and appealing. Add amenities like WiFi, TVs, kitchen essentials, extra towels and linens. Take professional quality photos and write an engaging property description. First impressions matter!

Step 6: List Your Rental & Start Hosting Create listings on platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com. Include all required licensing information in listings. Set competitive rates according to local market trends. Respond to booking inquiries promptly and confirm reservations. Then prepare to welcome your first guests!

Who to contact in Lawrence about Short Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

To obtain complete and up-to-date information on regulations for operating a short term rental business in Lawrence, Kansas, contact the city's Planning & Development Services department.

You can reach Planning & Development Services staff by phone or email:

Phone: (785) 832-7700 (select option for short term rental inquiries)

Email: pds@lawrenceks.org

Knowledgeable staff members are available during normal city business hours (Monday-Friday, 8AM-5PM) to answer questions related to:

  • Short term rental licensing requirements
  • Inspections and safety standards
  • Zoning regulations and restrictions
  • Occupancy limits
  • Parking rules
  • Collecting and remitting taxes
  • Penalties for violations

New and prospective hosts are advised to connect with Planning & Development Services early when considering operating a short term rental in Lawrence. Fully understanding the city's regulations is crucial for successfully starting and maintaining a compliant business.

The department's staff have significant expertise in interpreting relevant ordinances, codes, and policies related to short term rental housing in Lawrence. They should be viewed as a primary resource on this topic.

What do Airbnb hosts in Lawrence on Reddit and Bigger Pockets think about local regulations?

The overarching sentiment is moderate frustration paired with general acceptance. Most hosts comply with licensing and taxes due to penalties associated with violations. However, some skirt occupancy limits and restrictions on non-owner occupied rentals to maximize profits.

Key areas of annoyance for hosts:

  • Annual licensing is seen as bureaucratic and costly
  • Inspections feel repetitive and invasive to some hosts
  • Caps on non-owner occupied rentals limit income potential
  • Taxes eat into margins more than traditional rentals

Why hosts comply despite complaints:

  • Penalties for violations like fines and license revocation
  • Want to operate a legitimate business long-term
  • Inspections do ensure a baseline of safety and quality

Ways hosts admit to breaking city rules:

  • Exceeding maximum occupancy limits during big events
  • Renting spare rooms in homes located in restricted zones
  • Using friends/family names to get around rental caps

Overall the regulations in Lawrence strike a fair balance according to area hosts. The city supports short term rentals while implementing protections for neighborhoods and residents. Rules could be relaxed regarding caps and zoning. However hosts admit Lawrence is still more welcoming than many cities.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.