Denver’s short term rentals are still mostly unlicensed

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The number of licensed short-term rentals in Denver has risen more than 16-fold since early July. However, that means only 182 have been licensed.

Dan Rowland, spokesperson for Denver’s Excise and Licenses Department, says the number of licenses is expected to rise steadily in the next six weeks.

That’s because there’s nothing like a good stick to get people going — after Dec. 31, the city may begin issuing fines to people with unlicensed rentals.

Still, the vast majority of short-term rentals are probably unlicensed. A study from FiveThirtyEight found that there are 1,800 active listings in Denver on Airbnb alone. That means that at least 90 percent of short-term rentals are still unlicensed.

Data from BusinessDen was incorporated into this chart.

Data from BusinessDen was incorporated into this chart.

Or it may be even higher than 90 percent. Airbnb told BusinessDen that they have 4,000 listings in the area.

Maybe if the bulk of short-term rentals remain unlicensed, it’ll yield some money for the city. Fines for violating the new rules include a possible $999 fee for advertising without a licence, plus a possible $999 fee for operating without a license.

It costs just $25 for a short-term rental license annually in Denver. However, getting licensed means agreeing to pay the 10.75 percent lodger’s tax, which probably adds up to considerably more than the fines for many operators.

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