Roughly half of Denver’s short-term rentals have gotten their license

It’s possible that 50.5 percent sounds like a bad outcome, but it’s actually among the higher end of compliance rates we found.

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A home on Meade Street in Denver's West Highland neighborhood. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  west highland; residential; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty;

A home on Meade Street in Denver's West Highland neighborhood. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Slightly more than half of Denver’s short-term rentals are following the city’s new rules, according to the city’s excise and licenses department. Remember, those rules have been around for three months.

It’s possible that 50.5 percent sounds like a bad outcome, but it’s actually among the higher end of compliance rates I could find. 

It took Portland about two years to reach a 20 percent compliance rate, the Denver Post notes. In San Francisco, only around 23.4 percent of hosts have registered with the city after a year.

It’s an accomplishment that did not escape Denver Councilperson Mary Beth Susman.

Denver Excise and License Spokesperson Dan Rowland credits the city’s decision to put the application online.

“I think the thing that we understood very early on in the process was that you have to make this workable for folks and you have to meet them where they are,” he said.

“This is an online business, this is an online community, and that’s why we worked so fast and so hard to get our first online business license.”

Airbnb also proved to be helpful for getting the word out to its users, Rowland said. Of course, the prospect of violations, which carry fines of up to $999, were also successful people to either remove listings or license them.

“We’re certainly not the first city out there working on this,” Rowland said. “We were on the forefront of figuring out a way to get people to sort of buy into it and I think that’s really important.”

As for the new compliance goals, there are no “hard deadlines,” but the city plans to work on continuing education.