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    Last year, there was a bit of a scare for all the folks who rent their places over Derby weekend - the rise of services like Airbnb prompted Louisville officials to consider banning residents from short-term leasing their private residences.

    Reasons for concern ranged from a lack of oversight to an inability to collect the same tax regulations that hotels fall under, leading to the months-long process of trying to pass an ordinance to control the process. The debate has the same feel as the Uber/Lyft debate — are these seasonal renters operating as individuals, or are they operating a business? At what point does the city, or any government, get to legislate how a citizen handles their own property? Should we tax all money that changes hands in these situations? 

    The Louisville Metro Council has figured it out, passing an ordinance that will allow residents to rent out their homes during Derby season, with a few stipulations. Residents who plan to rent parts of or their entire home will be required to pay an annual $25 registration fee with the city - online registration will be available by June. Hosts/Homeowners will be required to be within 25 miles of the rental while guests are checked in, and evacuation plans must be created and clearly marked for each home. The number of guests who can stay in a home cannot exceed two times the number of bedrooms, plus four (for example, a two bedroom home can house 8 guests).

    Those who violate these rules will be given a warning, followed by fines up to $1,000, as well as the possibility of legal action. Enforcement will be enacted around September - you’ll be able to rent this Derby season without worrying.

    So what’s the easiest way to rent your place out? Services like Airbnb, VRBO and Flipkey allow you to list your home to a broad market, facilitating payment services and taking out a fee. Locally-owned Louisville Derby Home Rental lists your place for you for a one-time fee. Any of these sites will help you to collect a handsome rental fee ($3,000 for a weekend??), and offer ways to promote your listing. Listing your place across multiple sites will help ensure it’s rented, while your photos and amenities will really sell the place.

    Louisville Derby Home Rental advises residents to flood their homes with light, depersonalize the space (no family photos on the bedside table) and declutter as much as you can in order to get the best photo. You can read more tips here. 

    Many Louisvillians offer sort of concierge services for the out-of-town visitors, showing them the best places to eat nearby, to chauffeuring them around for an additional fee. This can be a big selling point for all of those Derby-goers who don’t want to deal with traffic or Uber fare surges and put a few more bucks in your pocket.

    In maybe fastest legal way to make a ton of money in one weekend in Louisville, renting out a spot at your place can not only a good deal, but a fun way to meet new folks and explore the city with them. Not to mention, crashing with your parents is a small price to pay for that kind of ROI.


    Michelle Eigenheer's picture

    About Michelle Eigenheer

    A Louisville transplant beginning to appreciate all the city's small things.

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