On July 11, 2023, the Urban County Council approved updates to the Code of Ordinances and Zoning Ordinance related to Short-Term Rentals (STRs) in Fayette County. These updates include a legal definition of Short-Term Rentals for Zoning purposes, which can be reviewed below. Hosted STRs and Un-Hosted STRs have different considerations and requirements; more information can be found on this webpage.
Short-Term Rental (STR): the commercial use of a dwelling unit rented in whole or part for temporary occupancy by transient guests for a tenancy of less than thirty (30) consecutive days, where no meals are served. This term does not include hotel or motel rooms, extended stay hotels, bed and breakfast facilities, boarding or lodging facilities, or farm dwelling units. Transient guests have an established primary residence elsewhere, and this term will not include individuals that rent a primary home every week.
Hosted: a short-term rental in which the dwelling unit or another dwelling unit on the property is a primary residence, and the primary resident continues to occupy the property while the short-term rental is being rented to guests.
Un-Hosted: a short-term rental in which a primary resident does not occupy the property.
All STR operators must obtain a Zoning Compliance Permit through the Division of Planning
All STR operators must obtain a Business License through the Division of Revenue.
- All STR operators must obtain a Special Fees License through the Division of Revenue, to be renewed annually, at a rate of $200 for the first unit and $100 per additional unit. To apply for a Special Fees License, a STR operator will need to provide the following to the Division of Revenue:
- A completed application, with attached Excel document indicating the address of each Short-Term Rental; the number of dwelling units being used as a Short-Term Rental on each property; the maximum number of occupants requested for each property; and whether each property is a Hosted or Un-Hosted Short-Term Rental.
- A sworn Affidavit signed by the Applicant attesting that the STR being licensed complies with the safety requirements of the ordinance and that it will comply with all applicable building codes, fire codes, and all applicable state, federal, and local laws or regulations;
- A sworn Affidavit signed by the owner of the STR, only necessary if someone other than the owner is completing the application for, and on behalf of, the owner, consenting to the Applicant filing an application on behalf of the Owner;
- A Zoning Compliance Permit issued by the Division of Planning for each property being licensed;
- A site plan and floor plan depicting the short-term rental, including the number of vehicles that can be legally parked on the property, without encroaching onto the street, sidewalks, alleys, public rights of way or public property;
- A certificate of insurance or other valid proof of general liability insurance in the amount not less than one million dollars ($1,000,000) per occurrence, which shall remain in effect at all times while engaged in the licensed activity;
- For short-term rentals utilizing septic tanks, evidence indicating that the septic tank is of sufficient size to accommodate the occupancy requested in the application;
- Evidence includes manufacturer’s specifications, tank size information, or the signed opinion of a septic tank installer or maintenance professional indicating the maximum occupancy limit for the size of the septic system.
- For Hosted Short‐Term Rentals, two forms of documentation indicating that a permanent resident resides at the dwelling unit utilized as the Short‐Term Rental, including motor vehicle registration; an unexpired Driver’s License; voter registration; tax documents indicating the dwelling unit as the individual’s residence; or a utility bill.
- Payment of $200 for the first Short-Term Rental and $100 for each additional Short-Term Rental (make check payable to LFUCG).
Every licensed short-term rental must meet and comply with the following at all times:
- It must contain sufficient smoke detectors installed and in working order as required in Section 12-1 of the Code of Ordinances;
- On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms.
- In each story within a dwelling unit, including basements and cellars but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics. In dwellings or dwelling units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level.
- In each room used for sleeping purposes where required at the time of construction.
- It must contain at least one functional carbon monoxide detector installed in an appropriate location as set forth in the Kentucky Residential Code;
- Outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. If a fuel-burning appliance is located within a bedroom or its attached bathroom, a carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed within the bedroom.
- Only for those dwelling units that contain:
- A fuel-fired appliance or
- An attached garage with an opening (like a door) that communicates with the dwelling unit,
- Regardless of construction date.
- It must contain at least one maintained and charged fire extinguisher located in an open and easily accessible location on each habitable floor of the short-term rental;
- It must contain at least one operable emergency and rescue opening in every sleeping room, as set forth in the Kentucky Residential Code;
- See R310 of the Kentucky Residential Code
- It shall not contain outdoor signage identifying the dwelling unit as a short-term rental.
The Licensee must post, in a conspicuous location in the short-term rental, the following:
- The name, email address, and telephone number of the Licensee or operator of the short-term rental, if different from the Licensee;
- The name, email address, and telephone number of the registered emergency contact for the short-term rental referenced in the Licensee’s application for a special fees license;
- The emergency and non-emergency telephone numbers for police, fire, and emergency medical service providers;
- Trash and recycling pickup information;
- A clearly marked emergency evacuation plan for the premises showing exit routes, exits, and fire extinguisher locations;
- The maximum number of occupants permitted in the short-term rental;
- A copy of the conditional use permit, if applicable; and
- The website address of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government where the guest may review the locally-required duties of a Licensee and file a complaint;
- Please note: LFUCG has provided a standard form to help Licensees comply with this requirement. It must be placed in a conspicuous location within the Short-Term Rental (on a kitchen counter, entry-way table, with other informational material provided by the Licensee, or in another location reasonably likely to be seen by the guest)
All advertisements for an STR, including, without limitation, those on Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, etc., shall include the following:
- The short-term rental’s Local Registration Number;
- Language specifying the allowed maximum number of occupants allowed under the Short-Term Rental Ordinance; and
- “the maximum number of occupants of this Short-Term Rental cannot exceed…”
- Language specifying that guests of the short-term rental are prohibited from allowing more people onto the premises than the maximum occupancy allowed.
- “Guests are prohibited from allowing more individuals than the maximum occupancy allows.”
Licensees must ensure:
- A short-term rental is not utilized for private events, such as weddings or parties, in which the number of participants exceeds the maximum occupancy limit. No private events, such as weddings or parties, shall occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Special events for a commercial purpose (concerts, ticketed events, etc.) shall be prohibited at all times.
- A short-term rental does not become the location where a violation of the laws governing assault, sexual offenses, prostitution, controlled substances, weapons, gambling on the premises, or any felony has occurred.
- Instances in which the Licensee or primary resident is the victim of the crime and had no control over the criminal act, including domestic violence, shall not be considered.
- Evidence of this violation includes a criminal citation issued by the Division of Police or other peace officer.
- Licensees must abide by all requirements contained within the conditional use permit, if a conditional use permit is required by the Zoning Ordinance.
- The Licensee is required to submit a true and accurate report annually to the Division of Revenue, in the manner and form specified by the Director, identifying:
- The address of each short-term rental owned or operated by the Licensee;
- The Local Registration Number of each short-term rental owned or operated by the Licensee; and,
- The number of contracts to which each short-term rental owned or operated by the Licensee was subject in the preceding year, and the duration of each contract.
- The Administrative Hearing Board has the authority to issue subpoenas to obtain information needed to determine if violations of the STR Ordinance have occurred, including information from Hosting Platforms.
- The Division of Revenue is empowered to issue fines, place liens on property, and revoke any STR license for failure to comply with regulations.
- Fines can range from $125 to $1000 per offense.
- Failure to obtain a Short-Term Rental Special Fees License can result in daily penalties of $500 and/or imprisonment up to 12 months.
- The Director may refuse to issue a license or renew the license of a Licensee in the following circumstances:
- When the applicant intentionally or knowingly makes a false statement as to a material matter in an application;
- When the applicant fails to complete any part of the application;
- When the Licensee has failed to pay any fee, tax, fine, or penalty related to a violation of the STR Ordinance (Sections 13-76 through 13-82 of the Code);
- When the property submitted for registration or renewal as a short-term rental is subject to unsatisfied penalties, fines, or liens assessed or levied by the Government for any reason (e.g. Code Enforcement liens or citations);
- When the Licensee fails to maintain a conditional use permit, if applicable, for the un-hosted short-term rental; or
- When the Licensee or short-term rental is not in compliance with any applicable federal, state, or local law or regulation, including, without limitation, mandatory zoning, building, safety, maintenance, health, sanitation, fire, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical codes.
- The Director may revoke the registration of any short-term rental for any of the following reasons:
- When any one of the circumstances provided above occurs; or
- When the Licensee or the short-term rental has otherwise been found to be in violation of the STR Ordinance (Sections 13-76 through 13-82 of the Code) two or more times (indicated by two citations) during the relevant license term.
- A Licensee whose special fees license is revoked is not eligible to apply for another short-term rental special fees license for the dwelling unit in which the license was revoked for a period of one year.
- The Director may revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew or issue a license on a dwelling unit basis. In other words, the License for a particular property can be revoked without revoking the license for other properties owned by the Licensee.
Licensees have the right to appeal denials of applications for STR Special Fees Licenses; revocations of STR Special Fees Licenses; or failures to renew STR Special Fees Licenses.
- The Division of Revenue will provide a letter to the Applicant/Owner requiring that it come forward and show cause why it should not deny, revoke, or renew an STR Special Fees License.
- The Licensee or Applicant/Owner shall have 10 days to respond to the letter, presenting evidence showing that the proposed action not be taken.
- Failing to respond shall result in the Division of Revenue taking the action described in the Division’s letter.
- The Director of the Division of Revenue will review the evidence provided to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to contest the proposed action. If sufficient evidence exists, the Director will request review by the Commissioner of Finance.
- The Commissioner of Finance will hold a hearing within 30 days, and the Applicant/Owner can present witness and evidence on its behalf.
Licensees have the right to appeal civil penalties issued for violations of the STR Ordinance (Section 13-76 through 13-82 of the Code of Ordinances)
- The appeal process mirrors appeals of Code Enforcement citations (e.g. tall grass or property maintenance violations)
- After a citation is issued, the Licensee must respond in writing within 7 days of the date of the citation, requesting an administrative hearing before a hearing officer to contest the citation. Failure to respond shall result in waiver of the right to a hearing, and the determination that a violation was committed shall be considered final.
- The citation will provide the information regarding where to send the request for an administrative hearing.
- See Section 2B-7 of the Code of Ordinances for a description of the administrative appeal before a hearing officer.
- Any person requesting a hearing who fails to appear at the time and place set for the hearing shall be deemed to have waived the right to a hearing to contest the citation, and the determination that a violation was committed shall be final.
- An appeal of a hearing officer’s determination may be made to Fayette County District Court within thirty days after the hearing officer’s order was issued. If no appeal to Fayette County District Court is filed, the order is final for all purposes.
- An appeal of the District Court’s determination may be made as provided by the Kentucky Rules of Appellate Procedure.
All Short Term Rentals in Residential Zones are limited to two guests per bedroom, plus four, up to 12 whichever is less.
- Any host or other permanent residents of the dwelling unit present during the short-term rental period shall count toward the maximum occupancy.
- Operators wishing to provide lodging to more guests than allowed by the occupancy formula outlined above must obtain approval from the Board of Adjustment.
- Hosted properties with occupancy at or below 12: must have a permanent resident on site – and do not require a conditional use permit
- Hosted properties with occupancy above 12: must have a permanent resident on site – and do require a conditional use permit
- Un-Hosted properties with any occupancy: do require a conditional use permit
- B-1, P-1, MU-1, MU-2, MU-3 Zones may utilize up to 25% of 25% of the dwelling units on their property for Short Term Rentals
- B-2, B-2A, B-2B, B-4*, I-1*, I-2*, CC, B-6P, MU-3 Zones have no occupancy limits and require no approval from the Board of Adjustment
- *When part of an Adaptive Reuse Project, Industrial Reuse Project, or Entertainment Mixed Use Project
Find your Zone:
- STR operators who were conducting business before the enactment of the updates to the Code of Ordinances and Zoning Ordinance have until until Jan. 11, 2024 to obtain required licensure and/or a Zoning Compliance Permit. These operators will not be required to obtain a conditional use permit (if approved occupancy rates are met).
- Upon sale of the property, any exempted STR would require obtaining a Conditional Use Permit through the Board of Adjustment.
In the event of an emergency situation or safety concern, please contact 911.
For non-emergencies, such as parties, illegal parking, loud noise etc. contact the Lexington Police Department Non-Emergency line at 859-258-3600.
For non-safety related concerns, such as trash or debris, occupancy rates, etc. contact LexCall 311. Our operators will direct the call to the appropriate Department or Division and create a ticket number for tracking purposes, which can be provided to the caller upon request.
*Note: LFUCG will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to identify technologies that can assist in streamlining the compliance and complaint processes for STR operators and Lexington residents. Once a technology is selected, updates will be reflected on this webpage.
- One Page Resource from Division of Planning
- Required Host Information Template (to be posted in unit)
- Licensure Resources (Division of Revenue):
- Review updated Code of Ordinances
- Review updated Zoning Ordinance