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Oklahoma City proposal would require licenses for Airbnb hosts

Oklahoma City — Oklahoma City is considering two ordinances that would require licenses for people who rent out rooms through “home sharing” platforms like Airbnb.

The first ordinance would limit rentals to 30 days with any one customer and require homeowners renting out their rooms to get a license, city spokeswoman Kristy Yager said. The city hasn't tried to pass a similar ordinance before, she said.

At this point, the license doesn't include any health and safety requirements, but those could be added in the future, Yager said. The license would cost $24 annually.

Oklahoma City residents who rent out their homes already are required to collect sales taxes and the 5.5 percent hotel tax.

A search of Airbnb and HomeAway, another home-sharing site, turned up more than 300 house and apartment rentals in Oklahoma City, with still other choices available in nearby communities.

Airbnb estimated hosts in Oklahoma City earned about $2.4 million from more than 23,000 renters. Hosts earned an average of $4,700 annually. HomeAway didn't respond to requests for comment.

The second ordinance would require homeowners renting out more than five bedrooms to get a bed and breakfast license, Yager said. That ordinance likely wouldn't affect many people. A search of Airbnb earlier this week found only 12 homes within city limits that offered five or more bedrooms for rent.

The ordinances still have to go through study and mark-ups by the city's planning commission and urban development committee. For example, they'll likely clarify how the ordinance would be enforced, Yager said.

If the planning commission likes the resulting ordinances, it can send them to the city council for a final vote, Yager said. Typically, the process takes a few months, she said.

Laura Spanjian, Airbnb policy director for Oklahoma, said the company works with local governments to determine what regulations will work in different communities, and didn't indicate any problems with the proposed ordinances in their current form.

“These proposed regulations will allow our community to continue sharing their homes to make ends meet, and we are committed to working with the city of Oklahoma City to ensure our hosts and the city receive the full economic benefits of home sharing,” she said in a written statement.

Meg Wingerter

Meg Wingerter has covered health at The Oklahoman since July 2017. Previously, she lived in Topeka, Kansas, and worked at Kansas News Service and The Topeka Capital-Journal, where she earned awards for business coverage. She graduated from... Read more ›