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What are the regulations for renting your home short term?

Posted at 6:23 PM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 19:23:23-04

TULSA -- Some Tulsa homeowners are going through a rigorous process to rent out their home on popular vacation sites, like Airbnb and VRBO. 

Lloyd Allen and his wife bought a once abandoned home in Florence Park and fixed it up. The couple, who currently lives in Tulsa, plans to move there once they retire. 

In the meantime, they want to list it on Vacation Rentals By Owner for short term rentals. 

"We thought we could keep it nicer by doing it as a VRBO and we could see it after every single rental," Allen said. 

Allen is very proud of his Midtown home. He and his wife fixed up the place that was once in really bad shape. 

As far as the laws for short term rentals, the Allens did not know. 

"We went to the City of Tulsa," Allen said. "We tried to do it the right way, asked them what we needed to do and they said we needed to do this zoning change." 

Allen said they were told they would be found more than $1,000 a day if they did not go through certain steps. The couple said they had to pay about $800 to get their home on a public hearing agenda for a special exception. 

Their neighbors got letters inviting them to the meeting on Sept. 11 to voice any concerns. 

A quick search of Airbnb and more than 300 homes listed in Tulsa pop up, which begs the question if all of the homeowners went through the steps the Allens did. 

"They should all have gone through it and the City of Tulsa we do have a complaint based enforcement system, because we don't have the manpower to proactively go out and enforce everything," Susan Miller, director of land development for INCOG, said.

"We tried to do it the right way and apparently we are one of the few who have done it this way," Allen said. 

Now, there is a chance the Allen's plans could be shot down next week. 

Miller said of the 15 homes that have been up for public hearing in the last year for the same reason, about half have been denied. She said concerns of neighbors play a big role. 

"People are a little concerned about this use in their neighborhood, especially when the owners aren’t present to go to if there is a problem with the people who are coming and going all the time versus a long term renter which you do get to know as your neighbor," Miller said. 

Those concerns from neighbors can also be incorporated into rules put on the property. 

The sign outside of the Allen's home said the home is up for a special exception to allow a "bed and breakfast." Miller said that is not a perfect fit for the circumstances but as of now there is not an exception for short term rentals, like Airbnb or VRBO. 

Currently, INCOG is working with the city to come up with one that would incorporate Airbnb, VRBOs and similar sites. The process would be streamlined and would have set guidelines for short term rentals. The new system would also be enforced through complaints. 

The city hopes to have the new system up and running in the next few months. 

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