Riley Co. Airbnb, Vrbo owners now required to apply for new operating license

FILE - Manhattan Grain Bin Airbnb.
FILE - Manhattan Grain Bin Airbnb.(KWCH)
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 11:38 AM CDT
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RILEY CO., Kan. (WIBW) - Airbnb and Vrbo rental owners in Riley Co. are now required to apply for a new operating license if they operate outside city limits.

Riley Co. says those who operate short-term rental properties - like Airbnb and Vrbo rentals - in unincorporated areas of the county will now have to apply for a new license with yearly renewals through the Planning and Development Department.

To be granted a license, the County said short-term rental properties are required to comply with a list of regulations which can be found in Section 5.2.AC of the Riley Co. Land Development Regulations - such as providing smoke detectors in each bedroom, weekly trash collection and appropriately sized egress windows for the property.

“The short-term rental license program is intended to help protect the health, life, and safety of occupants,” said Riley County Planning and Development/Environmental Health Director Amanda Webb. “It will take some time for people to get used to the process, but cities and counties everywhere are developing similar regulations to help protect people and ensure safe practices.”

The County noted that there are a few dozen short-term rental properties that currently operate outside city limits. It said the Planning and Development Department will be in direct contact with these owners to help explain the new processes and licensing requirements.

According to the County, property owners will have one year to meet the standards outlined in updated regulations adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on May 5.

The County also indicated the licenses will require yearly property inspections. It said short-term rentals can only be operated in habitable structures and are barred from non-residential accessory structures like sheds or garages.

“We will help educate owners and work with them to bring their properties into compliance,” said Webb. “We want anyone who stays in rural Riley County to feel comfortable knowing there are safety measures in place for these facilities.”

The County said the mission of the Planning and Development Department is to coordinate the design, adoption and implementation of comprehensive planning which strives to ensure all resources in the county are preserved, developed and managed consistently with adopted policies which promote the highest quality of life for current and future residents.

For more information about the Planning and Development Department and the Land Development Regulations, click HERE.

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