Gunfire broke out at a Halloween party in a home being rented short-term and the owner lost her rental license

It was one of the first cases under new Denver short-term rental regulations
2 min. read
Denver police lights on Aug. 31, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

UPDATE: In a settlement announced Jan. 16, the owner lost her license and can't get another one for a year.

According to a cause statement filed by the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, the party started to get out of control a little bit after 11 p.m. when police responded to reports of multiple gunshots and people fleeing the residence. Around 2 a.m. police responded to the party again after a fight broke out leaving one man with "minor face trauma." An ambulance treated the man, who would not identify himself. None of the other people leaving the party would identify themselves to police.

The Department of Excise and Licenses said in a Jan. 16 statement that under a settlement owner Shannon Baker has turned in her short-term rental license and cannot be issued another one for a year.

A new Denver law enacted in April prohibits short-term rentals from "operating in a manner that adversely affects the public health, safety, or welfare of the immediate neighborhood in which the property is located." The Baker case is is only the second time the city had sought to revoke a license under the new rules. Another case involving a Cherry Creek property that was allegedly being used regularly for parties has a hearing scheduled for Feb. 19.

In both cases, the city also alleged that the property owners did not reside at the residences being used as a short-term rental. Denver requires all short-term rental properties to be a primary residence of the owner.

According to Eric Escudero, a spokesman for the city's excise and licenses department, the primary residence regulation serves two purposes. First, it cuts down on the number of Airbnbs being used for big parties because the owners are usually on-site. Second, it prevents developers from coming into Denver, buying up properties that would otherwise be used as long-term residences and renting them out short term. Escudero says short-term rentals are the biggest source of complaints that his department receives. They get an average of three complaints per week via 311, he said.

Denver requires all short-term renters to acquire a business license.

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