Zoning Laws Make Using Airbnb Difficult For Tulsans
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa woman said she was making extra money renting out bedrooms in her house until the City shut it down.
City officials said that's because anyone who wants to list their home on a website like Airbnb first needs to get legal permission.
Airbnb is a website for people who want to rent, or rent out their homes, but some Airbnb hosts in Tulsa say the City is making it difficult.
Leah Krautter's midtown home is one of the most popular listings on Airbnb in Tulsa. She rents out two bedrooms through the website, which stands for Air bed-and-breakfast.
But if you ask Krautter, “I'm not, I'm not a bed-and-breakfast. I'm just a single mom renting a couple of rooms on Airbnb in my home, like over 100 other people in the city."
The City of Tulsa, on the other hand, legally considers her home a bed-and-breakfast.
"It may be a little different from the traditional bed-and-breakfast, but it still has people coming and going, staying the night. From the way it functions and impacts the neighborhood, there's really no difference," said Susan Miller with INCOG.
City laws say homeowners like Krautter, who want to rent out rooms through Airbnb, have to get a special exception from the Board of Adjustment - a process that costs at least $500 - otherwise they could get cited.
"Technically, if you're operating an Airbnb in Tulsa, you're operating illegally,” Krautter said. “And at any moment, you can have a notice slapped on your door saying, 'Shut her down,' your guests get left out in the breeze, and that's it."
Tulsa homeowners aren't the only ones dealing with these kinds of laws.
"A lot of communities all over the nation are facing the same issue," Miller said.
But other cities, like Oklahoma City, changed zoning laws to adapt to these home-sharing websites.
Krautter said, "It's a pretty new thing, and the city zoning codes are antiquated, and they just really don't address it."
There are more than 300 Airbnb listings in the Tulsa area.