Chambers at City Center.jpg

The Chambers at City Center in downtown Woodstock.

The Woodstock City Council has taken steps toward regulating short-term rentals, such as Airbnb and Vrbo.

The council unanimously gave initial approval Monday to regulations which would require property owners to get permission from the city to lease short-term. The council is scheduled to vote on final approval of the changes at its Aug. 23 meeting.

Under the proposed ordinance, no rental units could be established within the city limits of Woodstock without having first obtained a short-term rental certificate, as well as a home occupation license.

In the application for a short-term rental certificate, the applicant would be required to include contact information for the property’s principal owner and proof of insurance showing rental and vacation property coverage. If the property is in a neighborhood governed by a homeowners association, a statement from the HOA would be required confirming that short-term rentals are not prohibited. A short-term rental unit agent, either the property owner or someone chosen by the owner, will also be required to be designated in the application. If the agent is a representative of the owner, that person would be required to be over the age of 18.

City officials would be required to review submitted applications within 30 days and either grant or deny the application. Should an application be approved, the rental unit would be required to have a copy of the rental certificate posted within the unit, along with contact information of the unit’s agent, the unit’s maximum occupancy limit and the maximum number of vehicles that may be parked on the property.

The ordinance also establishes fines and other procedures for code violations. The first time a code violation occurs, a fine of $500 can be levied. If additional violations occur within the following 12 months, this fine increases to $750 for the second violation and $1,000 for the third. City officials also have the option to suspend or revoke the rental license as a consequence of violations.

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