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Lexington short-term rentals about to undergo regulation

Lexington Revenue Director Wes Holbrook addresses members of the Council Budget Committee
Stu Johnson
Lexington Revenue Director Wes Holbrook addresses members of the Council Budget Committee

A deadline is approaching for owners and operators of new and existing short-term rental units in Lexington. The City’s new short-term rental ordinance goes into effect in January. The deadline for applying for a new STR license is January 11th. Director of Revenue Wes Holbrook told a Lexington Council committee this week that close to 900 are listed on a platform for rental. But Holbrook said only 63 have applied for the license. He noted it’s better to seek assistance than to disregard the deadline.

“If you come to us and say ‘I haven’t filed. I have these things that are missing. I want to get compliant. Then we will make allowances and waive penalties…but if we find you then we’re less willing to negotiate on those issues,” said Holbrook.

The license fee for the first short-term rental is $200 and a hundred dollars for others after that. But Holbrook said the penalty for operating without a license is $500 per day.

Council Member Kathy Plomin asked about spreading the word about the impending deadline.

“Do you envision any other aggressive community outreach between now and January….because that’s a lot of outstanding folks that need to go through this during a holiday season and your office is somewhat limited..at least in my opinion,” said Plomin.

Holbrook said efforts are being made through various avenues to remind short-term rental owners about the new ordinance and its regulations. The revenue director said the license fee established can’t be more than the cost to regulate the housing units. Committee Chair James Brown called the new licensing a “work in progress,” adding a review of the short-term rental policy will be scheduled in April when fine-tuning could occur.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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