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Columbia City Council is set to vote on short-term rentals


The Columbia City Council is set to vote on three items about short-term rentals on Monday night at 7 p.m.

The research has been in works since 2018 when the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau reported that short-term rentals should collect a lodging tax to level the playing field for hotels and other lodging industries in Columbia. 

Columbia City Council has focused on three questions throughout this process:

  1. What is owner hosting and when should it be required?
  2. Should short-term rentals be allowed in certain areas of Columbia?
  3. Should short-term rentals have inspections that follow the same structure currently used for long-term rentals since the late 1970s?

"We believe that there are likely already many existing short-term rentals that have already gone through the process," said Leigh Kottwitz with the Office of Neighborhood Services. "They have registered as a rental property with the city and have been inspected."

Currently, a registration process for rental properties with gas-burning appliances has to be inspected by an HVAC expert or technician. Once that is done and a fee for the city inspection and a three-year certificate is paid, the Office of Neighborhood Services will schedule an inspection of the property.

"They’re looking for just basic maintenance of the property. So they’re going through and making sure that its maintained, making sure the plumbing and any electrical systems are functioning also checking for smoke and carbon dioxide detectors," Kottwitz said.

There are more than 28,000 rental units and 10,000 buildings in Columbia that are in compliance and are going through this inspection process. The Office of Neighborhood Services doesn’t think adding short-term rentals to its system would cause many issues.

"I feel like we’re just waiting on some clarity on what the ordinance will say and again I anticipate some good cooperation because we don’t want this to be arduous and we don’t think the cost is prohibitive," said Kottwitz.

City Council is concerned about what issues short-term rentals could have with extra noise, trash, parking in neighborhoods. The Office of Neighborhood Services is not aware of many complaints of that nature, but says it is ready to handle those if they occur.

"We don’t get too many complaints very few honestly compared to the other work we do in the community. So we know that’s a concern for a neighbor but we hope that we have some tools to help if those are issues," Kottwitz said.

Short-term rental owners and city officials are ready for a decision to be made. 

"Oh, I think it will be a relief," said Kottwitz. "I think that for all parties involved whether you’re an operator of a short-term rental or a neighbor in a neighborhood where you have them. You know, I think it’s going to be good to just know where we’re at."

There is some discussion about changing the regulations on zoning to possibly restrict the short-term rentals in certain parts of Columbia and it is all public knowledge.

City of Columbia zoning map


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Amber Tabeling

Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.


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