December 10, 2023
Enjoy the holiday season with your friends and family. The Fayette County Neighborhood Council usually has a general meeting in December with invited guests and food to celebrate the season and year end. However, this year the number of issues impacting neighborhoods has accelerated, and the FCNC Board has decided not to have a meeting in December. I will be updating you on short-term rentals below in brief summary fashion and will send more communications on other issues this month.
Short Term Rental Properties
1. All short term rental properties are supposed to be licensed by COB January 11, 2024, and to this point less than 100 STRs have applied for a license. The Division of Revenue issues licenses, and after January 11, should be able to advise if a particular address is licensed as legally required. If you find one that is operating and not licensed, it would be logical to report the property to the Division of Revenue. Unlicensed STRs are subject to fines. Advertising through a platform like Airbnb would be a sign that a property is operating.
2. If you have problems with an STR especially after January 11, report them to the appropriate agency–Lexington Police, Code Enforcement, Building Inspection, Zoning Enforcement, and/or the Division of Revenue. The LFUCG has not yet provided direction on reporting violations and problems. Calling 311 is a good way to connect with local agencies.
3. The Urban County Council has decided to not discuss possible changes in the STR Ordinance until sometime in April, so start thinking about and suggesting changes to the STR Ordinance that you believe to be desirable.
4. The LFUCG has not yet purchased software necessary to find STRs in Lexington so doesn’t know where they are yet. That will hinder enforcement and licensing and has caused problems for the Board of Adjustment which is supposed to look at STR density before issuing an new permit. Once the LFUCG has acquired the software, some time will be necessary to make it operational. Nashville, Covington, and possibly Louisville all had to shut down their STR programs for six months because STRs failed to acquire licenses when required. Lexington is proceeding without a pause.
5 Neighborhoods that do not want STRs should look to see if deed restrictions are in place and still in effect that would prohibit them. The Courts consider deed restrictions to be private contracts outside of Urban County Government consideration. Proceeding in this direction would require hiring legal counsel. Be aware that condoning or neglecting to take action against violations of deed restrictions may nullify them, as though fallen into general disuse; seek legal counsel to learn what practices are best.
6. Document everything if you have a problem with an STR site.
7. A short-term rental only exists when renters are transient and stay less than 30 days. Pay attention to length of stays if an STR does not have a license.
The next thing FCNC will send you will be on the Urban Growth Management Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment which is comprehensive and potentially will impact all neighborhoods. The ZOTA has its Planning Commission hearing this Thursday Dec 14 at 1:30 in Council Chambers (but comes last on the agenda).
Thanks for your engagement on behalf of your neighborhood.
Walt Gaffield, President
Fayette County Neighborhood Council, Inc.