At long last, Langley adopts rules on short-term rentals

After more than a year of researching the topic, Langley is going to formally track and regulate its short-term rental units.

The city council Monday night unanimously approved amendments to create a new licensing system, permits and regulations.

The changes came in response the rise in Airbnb, VRBO and other units rented on a short term basis and their perceived effect on housing availability and neighborhood character.

The code limits the number of licenses that can be issued to 30 per year. It creates a new category for whole-home rentals; an owner of this type of rental can only operate one of them.

The maximum number of accessory dwelling units, called ADUs, is 50.

During the process of creating these changes, the city received extensive public comment.

Many operators of these types of rentals said they help the local economy and shouldn’t be limited or regulated too heavily. Others were concerned the new rules wouldn’t be enforceable.

The city has contracted with an agency that specializes in short-term rental enforcement. There will also be a 24-hour hotline to anonymously report unlicensed operations and a penalty that could be as high as $500 per day.

Before the council voted on the new rules, Mayor Tim Callison said he was confident the changes do not leave the city vulnerable to legal challenges. At the request of Councilman Bruce Allen, the council agreed to review the effectiveness and impact of the regulations in one year.

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