Madison Council to consider "AirBnB" permission

August 6, 2013

Ordinance is being introduced on Tuesday, August 6

A group of Madison alders are introducing legislation that would legalize "tourist rooming houses" in the city under certain conditions.

Alders Marsha Rummel, Sue Ellingson, Matt Phair, Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, Ledell Zellers and Mark Clear have been working with city staff for several months to develop a framework which would permit homeowners to rent overnight rooms or their entire house to visitors.

Such rentals are rapidly growing in popularity due to Web sites like AirBnB and VRBO, but their current legality in the city is unclear. Under the proposed legislation, tourist rooming house operators would need a conditional use permit, health permit, would need to pay room tax, and be separated from another rooming house or bed & breakfast by at least 500 feet. (Health permits and room tax payments are already required by state statute.)

"We wanted to find a way to make these rentals legal, but also give neighbors some say in the process," said Ald. Rummel, 6th District. "Many of us have heard concerns about safety and neighborhood integrity as short-term rentals proliferate."

The proposed ordinance is being introduced on Tuesday, August 6, with action later in the fall. Before the formal process begins, the alders will be scheduling a public listening session to discuss the proposal and gather input. "We recognize that this is a complex issue," said Ald. Mark Clear, 19th District. "Many people who are already in this business appreciate the extra income and opportunities for fellowship. At the same time, we want to make sure that it's done safely and without adverse effects on neighbors. That's why we want to hear from folks, and potentially make changes, before moving forward."

Contact:
  • Ald. Mark Clear, District 19, (608) 695-5709
  • Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, (608) 772-4555