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An STR is a dwelling unit, or portion of a dwelling unit, that is used for lodging for a period of less than 30 consecutive days.
Basically, a property owner can rent out their house, or rooms in their house, to guests for a short period of time. STRs are usually listed on web-based platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway, Stayz, and Expedia.
Regulating STRs has been a focus of City Council since 2018, and several study sessions have been held for Council to explore various regulation options. Before the ordinance was approved, STRs existed in Wheat Ridge but were completely unregulated and not even mentioned in the City Code. Without any regulations, STRs were challenging for the City to enforce or to shut down offenders. City Council was clear about the creation of an ordinance that allows STRs, but limits how many there can be in the community. The ordinance creates appropriate licensing requirements and puts significant responsibility on STR hosts to be good neighbors. Licensed STRs will also provide revenue to the City in the form of Lodgers’ Tax, starting August 1, 2021.
An STR host must be the owner of a property:
Owners of apartments or mixed-use buildings on commercial corridors may be permitted to have additional STRs. STRs in condos may already be restricted by the Homeowners Association (HOA) or other ownership agreement. If not, the code limits condo developments to four total STRs per development to prevent a large number of condos from being converted into STRs. These details are included in the ordinance.
Yes. A cap on the total number of STRs in each City Council district will take effect on November 1, 2021. This will limit the number of “whole house” STRs in each district to 2% of the total number of dwelling units within that district (in single-family homes, duplexes, and single-family attached townhomes). This cap does not apply to “partial house” STRs or STRs in commercial districts. STRs registered prior to November 1, 2021 will not be affected by the cap unless a license is allowed to lapse.
If the maximum number of STRs for any district is reached, applications will be placed on a waitlist until the number of STRs in that district fall below the number allowed.
The 2% limit was put in place by City Council to reduce the impacts of STRs on neighborhoods and limit the overall number in each district.
The ordinance relies on STR hosts to “be a good neighbor” and has provisions to reduce the impacts of STRs on neighboring properties. Licensed STR hosts are required to notify their neighbors of approved licenses. The STR application also requires an emergency contact that can respond to the property within 60 minutes. The license must be posted within the STR.
If there are complaints regarding an STR operation, Wheat Ridge residents can use the link below to submit a complaint regarding potential violations of the STR ordinance. This is not a tool for generic complaints unrelated to STRs or inquiries about the ordinance.
For issues related to general property maintenance or nuisance and not specifically related to STRs (such as noise, weeds, trash, or illegal parking), please contact WRPD Code Enforcement at 303-235-2926. For emergencies, please call 911.