This Johnson County city is latest to adopt stricter rules for AirBnbs

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Short-term rental owners in Merriam have five months to adhere to newly adopted regulations.

Like some of its Johnson County neighbors, the Merriam City Council on Monday in a 7-1 vote approved an ordinance that outlines new, stricter regulations for short-term rentals, such as AirBnbs and Vrbos. Councilmember Jacob Laha cast the lone dissenting vote.

Short-term rentals are a hot-topic in Johnson County with the 2026 World Cup on the horizon expected to bring an influx of visitors to the region.

Several cities, including Fairway and Shawnee, have adopted more stringent regulations about how such properties can operate inside their city limits. Prairie Village is also considering an effective ban on short-term rentals, similar to Leawood and Mission Hills, by requiring such properties me rented out for a minimum of 30 days at at time.

Merriam’s new regulations adopted Monday won’t go in effect for five months, on Oct. 1.

What are the new regulations?

The centerpiece of Merriam’s new rules is a 1,000-foot buffer that will be required between  short-term rental properties.

Under the city’s rules, new short-term rental license applications also must be 1,000 feet away from existing short-term rentals.

Short-term rental property owners must now also get a permit that requires applicants to notify neighbors within 200 feet. That permit will cost $300 annually to renew.

Short-term rentals will also now be required to post rules of conduct that ask guests to behave in a neighborly manner and informs them of different city rules such as an “excessive noise” prohibition.

The ordinance approved Monday also clarifies that only one unit per parcel, such as one side of a duplex, can operate as a short-term rental.

These new rules take effect Oct. 1, 2024.

How does this compare to other JoCo cities?

Merriam short-term rentals are required to adhere to new regulations per the city council (above) decision.
The Merriam City Council in May 2024. Photo credit Juliana Garcia.

The Merriam city council OK’s with minimal discussion

  • Councilmember Laha cast the lone dissenting vote after saying he dislikes the 1,000-foot buffer zone, which he sees as unfair.
  • Laha said he would rather ban short-term rentals entirely than deal with the 1,000-foot buffer zone.
  • Councilmember Staci Chivetta said she sees the 1,000-foot buffer zone as a compromise between residents who want to use short-term rentals or own one, and those who are against such properties.
  • Chivetta said her constituents in Ward 4, where a cluster of short-term rentals currently exist, are supportive of the buffer zone.

Keep reading: Overland Park unlikely to crack down further on short-term rentals

About the author

Juliana Garcia
Juliana Garcia

👋 Hi! I’m Juliana Garcia, and I cover Prairie Village and northeast Johnson County for the Johnson County Post.

I grew up in Roeland Park and graduated from Shawnee Mission North before going on to the University of Kansas, where I wrote for the University Daily Kansan and earned my bachelor’s degree in  journalism. Prior to joining the Post in 2019, I worked as an intern at the Kansas City Business Journal.