The Kansas City Council passed two ordinances in May of 2023 that will add a number of new regulations on short-term rentals. The two ordinances will address registration, code violations and even where certain short-term rentals are allowed within the city. One of the biggest changes is that non-resident short-term rentals — or those where the property owner doesn’t live on site — will no longer be allowed in neighborhoods zoned as residential. Previously approved non-residential short-term rentals are allowed to continue in residential neighborhoods, but new ones will not be permitted. The ordinances will also move registration for short-term rentals to the city’s Neighborhood Services Department, which handles code enforcement and compliance. That change will take effect June 15.
HKC listened to the concerns of historic neighborhoods about the explosion of non-resident short-term rentals and their impact on residential neighborhoods. After hearing the concerns and studying the thoughtful and well-researched historic neighborhood analysis of short-term rental issues across the country, HKC supported the position expressed by the Neighborhood Advisory Council and Midtown Neighborhoods, including specifically:
April 17, 2023
RE: Short-Term Rental Ordinances 230267 and 230268
Dear Neighborhood Planning & Development Committee,
Historic Kansas City, an organization dedicated to promoting the preservation of historic buildings and neighborhoods, has been listening to the concerns of historic neighborhoods about the explosion of non-resident short-term rentals and their impact on residential neighborhoods. After hearing the concerns and studying the thoughtful and well-researched historic neighborhood analysis of short-term rental issues across the country, we support the position expressed by the Neighborhood Advisory Council and Midtown Neighborhoods, including specifically:
We support owner-occupied short term rentals. We support programs and policies that allow residents to maintain historic residences. Since many of the homes in historic Kansas City neighborhoods were built in the period from 1890 to 1920, allowing hosts to welcome guests into their homes is a way more people can afford to keep their historic homes in good repair and to pay their ever-increasing property taxes. It is not only museum-quality homes that are important; Kansas City is rich with housing stock built for working and middle class families that is still offering affordable living space. We have heard that home-sharing allows families and residents to maintain and improve these historic shirtwaists, bungalows and well-built turn-of-the-century homes, keeping them in use and preserving them for future residents.
We support restriction of non-owner-occupied short-term rentals in residential districts. The city established the Neighborhood Advisory Council to represent the interest of Kansas City’s diverse neighborhoods and develop public policies for improving the quality of life. KCNAC put significant time and effort into listening to neighborhood concerns, researching, and making recommendations on short term rental policies; doing exactly what the city has asked them to do. They have been key in making policy recommendations that represent the interest of neighborhoods. In addition, we have listened to the Midtown Neighborhoods Working Group, which has concluded that the greatest threat to the continued viability of historic neighborhoods is the proliferation on non-owner occupied short term rentals. Therefore, we support their call for restrictions on this type of STR in all residential neighborhoods.
The best way to preserve historic neighborhoods and historic homes is through the sweat-equity and investment of those who care about them. The city saw a huge disinvestment in historic Midtown neighborhoods after WWII when residents fled to the suburbs and left our amazing historic homes to absentee landlords. Many of the homes were stripped of their character or allowed to deteriorate. Beginning in the 1970s and continuing through today, families who cherish the sound architecture and craftsmanship of these turn-of-the century neighborhoods have moved back, often painstakingly restoring their homes. Now these once abandoned areas with their sense of community are drawing residents back to the city and can continue to do so. But we have begun to see investor-owned STRs, acting more like hotels than family homes, shatter the social fabric of these neighborhoods. If a significant portion of homes are owned by investors only concerned about their income potential, we could once again face the disinvestment and deterioration of these neighborhoods.
If these major provisions are incorporated in the new city regulations being proposed, we will have gone a long way toward correcting existing problems and heading off future ones. We urge you to support the restriction on short-term rentals in historic and older residential neighborhoods. Historic Kansas City is interested in the ongoing discussion of these issues and willing to provide our expertise and opinions as the discussion continues.
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