Recent deadly shooting at Wichita Airbnb is sparking change from city leaders

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A recent deadly shooting at a Wichita Airbnb is sparking change. City leaders are meeting with neighbors and the short-term rental company to create new policies.

Neighbors said they were concerned about not knowing an Airbnb was in their community. Vice Mayor Brandon Johnson said that is just one of the solutions he is working on.

Kelli Reid owns two rentals in Wichita. Reid said there were no programs or guidelines in place when she wanted to turn her rentals into Airbnb’s. She said a solution should have been done years ago

“It’s unfortunate that the city hasn’t been more proactive, I mean Airbnb is not a new thing, it’s been around since 2007,” said Reid. “It’s been frustrating as an owner I guess it’s safe to say to not have a lot of clear guidance from the city.”

Reid said she is operating now that she knows the guidelines with a seven-day length stay so it is compliant with the city guidelines, but there is still no policy in place.

Vice Mayor Brandon Johnson said that is why he is working towards a solution, as many Airbnb’s are operating without a permit. “First step is just letting people know the actual process,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he is now working hands-on with the Airbnb company to fix the policies, like having short-term rentals on the app to require a minimum stay of seven days. 

He said to keep the process transparent and is working on ways to notify neighborhoods about short-term rentals coming in. “This is a different type of business model that hasn’t been addressed yet so what can we do that’s not too burdensome to address it — can you now make it operate legally,” said Johnson. 

Reid said transparency is key between the neighbors and owners, as it has worked well in her neighborhood. “Embrace it and do it in a fair and balanced way,” said Reid. 

No solutions have been finalized. 

Reid said she is forming a coalition to meet with the leaders to work out a plan that is fair for both the neighbors and rental property owners.

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