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Short Term Rentals

What is a Short Term Rental?

The definition for a Short Term Rental typically means "the practice of renting out a furnished room, suite, home, apartment or dwelling unit for a short-term stay." These include transient lodging offered through Airbnb, Vrbo, and other similar online platforms. The City of Wichita Unified Zoning Code does not currently address this type of use.

Background

With the advent of systems to offer and rent Short Term Rentals, Wichita has seen a significant increase in the number of Short Term Rentals operating in the City. According to information from Granicus, the number of unique Short Term Rental units in Wichita increased from 337 units in April of 2021 to 442 units in February of 2022. 

Current Wichita Policy and Regulations on Short Term Rentals

In the City of Wichita, Short Term Rentals are regulated by the Unified Zoning Code. The Unified Zoning Code does not specifically identify or define Short Term Rental as a land use. However, the Unified Zoning Code does include a number of definitions that regulate where and how long dwelling units can be leased in the City. Based on the Unified Zoning Code, there are generally three options for how a Short Term Rental can be legally operated in the City. Short Term Rentals are not permitted in the unincorporated Sedgwick County. 





Short Term Rentals in Other Communities

Planning Department staff reviewed 25 cities in Kansas and neighboring states to see if and how they regulate Short Term Rentals. This information can be used to help collect public input about the state of the practice, lessons learned and what some options are for Wichita. Cities evaluated included Lawrence, KS, Manhattan, KS, Springfield, MO, Oklahoma City, OK, Des Moines, IA and Albuquerque, NM.

Of the communities reviewed, 16 communities had regulations, while nine (9) communities surveyed either have no regulations or are reviewing their options at this time. The number of requirements placed on Short Term Rentals varied significantly by community. Below is a graphic that illustrates the number of requirements.

Short Term Rental Regulation Occurence

​Common policies covered occupancy restrictions, zoning regulations, length of time a Short Term Rental could be rented based upon if the property was owner-occupied or not. Some communities required neighborhood notification up to 500 feet from the rental property; while others required a public meeting coordinated by the property owner. In some cases, nearby property owners had to agree that the property could be used for short term rental. Most cities required a license and/or permit for the business to operate.  Some communities allowed the business to transfer with the property, while others did not.​​​

Possible Changes

In response to public comments and requests, the City of Wichita has explored possible options to make changes in the way that short-term rentals are regulated. The possible changes consist of the following elements: 
  • updates to the Unified Zoning Code;
  • a new short-term rentals licensing program; and
  • a new section of the Wichita Municipal Code to address party houses. 
You can find draft copies of these changes on this website. Please note that this a process to determine whether regulations and/or changes are a good fit for Wichita. So, be sure to look for the most recent draft as the documents will likely be updated throughout the process.

Events

You can learn more about possible changes by attending or viewing an event. Below is a listing of events where information about the City of Wichita and possible changes related to short-term rentals are discussed. 

Past Events

  • On April 21, 2021, the City hosted a virtual meeting for Crown Heights Neighborhood residents and stakeholders to discuss existing regulations for short-term rentals in Wichita. ​
  • On February 8, 2022, the City hosted a virtual meeting for Crown Heights Neighborhood residents and stakeholders to review potential option for regulatory changes related to short-term rentals. The feedback and questions from the meeting were used to help identify preferred options that could best meet community needs. The feedback received about short-term rentals and the ability to operate them in Wichita was diverse. There was general support for short-term rentals operating with the owner present. Responses for short-term rentals operating with out the owner present ranged from don't allow, to require a Conditional Use or other opportunity for neighbor input. In general, there appeared to be overall support for licensing. Participants provided a wide range of thoughts on what amount of fees would be appropriate. Multiple participants expressed concerns about the impact that short-term rentals would have on quality of life. Multiple participants also indicated that enforcement is important and had questions about how enforcement is done by the City. 
  • On October 25, 2022, the City Council received a presentation on potential regulation changes and licensing during the City Council workshop.
  • On November 3, 2022, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC) Advance Plans Committee received a presentation on potential regulation changes and licensing. 

Upcoming Events​


Public Input

You can provide input and share your thoughts about what changes (if any) the City should put in place regarding short-term rentals. Below are some ways to share your thoughts. 

Email 

Postal Mail

  • Submit a letter to the Planning Department at the following address:
Wichita-Sedgwick County
Metropolitan Area Planning Department
Attn: Mary Hunt
271 W. 3rd Street
Wichita, KS 67202

Regulation and Policy Change Documents




  
  
expand Category : Current Draft Version ‎(3)

STR Enforcement

Monitoring and enforcement of Short Term Rentals is generally led and coordinated by the Planning Department, Zoning Enforcement Division


Reports or complaints may be submitted via email, by calling 316-268-4421 or online using the MABCD portalThe Zoning Enforcement Division generally operates 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, unless enforcement actions are specifically scheduled for a different time.


Depending on the severity and the timing of the issue, complaints/issues can also be made to the Wichita Police Department. The WPD can disperse individuals and issue citations as needed. Depending on the issue, other departments – including the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department or Wichita Fire Department could be contacted.