Prairie Village moves to require Airbnb homes to register as rentals with city

Prairie Village appears set to require people offering homes on Airbnb to register the properties as rentals with the city.
Prairie Village appears set to require people offering homes on Airbnb to register the properties as rentals with the city.

The Prairie Village City Council on Tuesday agreed in principle to require homeowners offering entire homes or individual rooms for rent on Airbnb to register with the city and pay an annual rental fee.

Assistant City Administrator Wes Jordan presented the idea to the council after his office had seen increased inquiries about whether offering a home for rent via the site was legal in Prairie Village. At present, he said, fewer than half a dozen Prairie Village homes are available on the site, and just one of the properties listed offers the entire house for occupation.

But several residents have asked whether it was legal to offer their home through the site, and some traditional rental property owners have asked why Airbnb operators aren’t required to pay the annual rental license fee of $77.

“I don’t see this as getting to be a very big thing here, but we want to have it addressed,” Jordan said.

Jordan told the council that after consulting with the city attorney, he believed the simplest and most even-handed way to address the situation was by requiring Airbnb operators to follow the same procedures as traditional rental home owners. In addition to paying the annual fee, Airbnb operators would also be required to register their homes with the city for annual inspection.

The alternative, he said, would be to alter the city’s zoning regulations to explicitly address services like Airbnb, a complicated and potentially costly process that would take months to work through.

The presence of Airbnb properties in the area has vexed a number of northeast Johnson County municipalities, with Roeland Park struggling over the summer with how to address them. It’s also been a matter of controversy in some Prairie Village neighborhoods, with the presence of an Airbnb home causing a Prairie Hills homeowner to ask the homeowners association to take up the matter.