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Ketchum passes ordinance to require short-term rental permits

Ketchum in the winter

Property owners wanting to rent out a unit for fewer than 30 days in Ketchum will need to get a permit from the city.

The ordinance requiring the permits passed 3-0 during Tuesday night's council meeting. Council member Jim Slanetz voluntarily abstained from the vote because he owns short-term rentals in the city.

In addition to obtaining a permit, property owners will also need to sign an affidavit agreeing to basic safety and community standards, similar to those in place in McCall. It also requires owners to name a local representative in case issues arise.

But Mayor Neil Bradshaw emphasized the permit approach is mostly about gathering data.

“There are more unknowns than knowns regarding the effects of short-term rentals on our economy and our workforce housing situation," he said. "This ordinance will help us collect the data we need to make more informed decisions in the future.”

The rules are toned down from an earlier draft, which could have required owners in older apartment buildings to update things like fire sprinklers in order to list on Airbnb. But the city received backlash from groups like the Idaho Association of Realtors.

City staff will come back to the council with a proposal for a software system to measure compliance. Earlier estimates found as many as 35% of short-term rentals in Ketchum are operating without business licenses, leaving local option tax revenue on the table.

The ordinance is slated to go into effect in April of this year.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

I cover environmental issues, outdoor recreation and local news for Boise State Public Radio. Beyond reporting, I contribute to the station’s digital strategy efforts and enjoy thinking about how our work can best reach and serve our audience. The best part of my job is that I get to learn something new almost every day.

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