Denver is finding and fining unlicensed short-term rental owners

Not sure if you need a license? You probably do.

The Mile High City is an extremely popular place to both live + visit, as so many Denverites know. A way people can experience Colorado life from a local's perspective, is by renting airbnb units on a short-term basis, and Airbnb is a viable option for many. But many Denver landlords with investment properties on Airbnb are on borrowed time.

Six months after regulations banned the practice of renting investment properties for less than 30 days – a lucrative niche that could earn a landlord $1,000 to $2,000 more per month than a year-long lease – Denver is sniffing out the scofflaws and making suspicious Airbnb hosts prove with a driver’s license or other documents that they live there.

The local short-term rental ordinance also requires landlords to register for a business license and collect taxes. Denver has reaped $600,000 in revenue from those taxes in 2017.

The number of short-term rental listings fluctuates from month to month, according to data from Host Compliance, a California-based company hired by the city to analyze the local market. There were 1,000 more listings in December than the 2,800 listed now.

“At this point we can confidently say there are thousands fewer properties in Denver now,” said James Carlson, a consultant who works with short-term rental landlords and also owns a property.

Carlson said he rents a medium-term rental and hauls in $1,000 to $2,000 less per month than he could with a short-term rental. “It’s not Airbnb money, but it’s still more than long term,” he said.

The city says more than 60 percent of the 2,808 short-term rental listings identified in the city as of June 19 had a license. But if the city suspects a landlord is listing a property they don’t live in, it requests proof of residence, like a vehicle registration, driver’s license, voter registration or tax document.

Five landlords that have not provided proof of residency were summoned to hearings at the end of summer. A hearing officer will weigh their word against testimony from neighbors.

If you are an Airbnb owner - or looking to become one - make sure you have all the information you need so that you don't end up like these landlords.

Thank you to for the story. To find a rental in Denver visit


Posted by West + Main Homes on


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