Two Denver property owners must defend their short-term rental licenses next month, testing a new rule that the licenses can be revoked if a property harms the public health, safety or welfare of a neighborhood.
In both cases the homes were rented to large and rowdy groups, documents from Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses allege. One of those parties ended in gunfire the night after Halloween.
In addition, neither of the property owners in the two cases use the home as their primary residence or “usual place of return,” which is required by the department, the documents say.
Only one short-term rental license has been revoked in Denver, said department spokesperson Eric Escudero. That revocation came in March after neighbors of a $5 million Country Club mansion complained of large, rowdy parties there.
The next month, the department’s health, safety and welfare rule was enacted.
Now Shannon Baker and Elizabeth McClard must appear before a hearing officer in mid-January to defend their respective licenses, the documents show.
Denver police officers were dispatched to Baker’s East 12th Avenue home at 11:22 p.m. on Nov. 1 after callers reported hearing as many as eight gunshots, the documents say.
“When police responded, a large party was occurring … with an estimated 60 people inside,” the documents say.
Doorbell camera footage from the home showed a fight on the front porch and a male shooting a handgun toward the street, the documents say. No damage or gunshot victims could be found, but an assault was also reported there just hours later.
Jason and Shannon Baker bought the home in January for $687,000, Denver property records indicate.
Shannon Baker received a short-term rental license for the property in March but she holds another address in California and received a driver’s license there in April, the documents say.
The California address should be enough to revoke the license, said City Councilman Chris Hinds, whose 10th District includes the Capitol Hill home. And the reported shooting is exactly the sort of thing the new department rule is meant to counteract, he said.
“We don’t want firearm use in our neighborhoods at all, and we really don’t want firearm use by people with no connection to our neighborhoods other than they’re renting a room for a night or two,” Hinds said.
In the case of McClard’s property on North Madison Street in Cherry Creek North, a neighbor complained in August that the home was being used by “large groups of people who were causing a disturbance” and that McClard does not live there, the documents say. Other neighbors also told city investigators that McClard lives in St. Louis, not Denver.
Attempts to reach McClard and Baker were unsuccessful.
The primary residence requirement is important for the success of Denver’s short-term rental market, Escudero said.
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“We see better managers of short-term rentals when it is their primary residence; it protects the integrity of Denver’s neighborhoods,” Escudero said. Property owners are “on scene, they’re nearby, they can address any issues that might be coming up.”
Denver currently has 2,692 active short-term rental licenses, Escudero said. Of those, nearly 75% of the properties are in compliance with Denver’s rules and regulations, which is “among the highest in the nation.”
McCard and Baker must appear before hearing officers to defend their licenses in mid-January, Escudero said.
But already Baker’s home has been removed from Airbnb, one of the most popular short-term rental platforms, said spokesperson Ben Breit. The company recently banned “party houses” and received word of the reported shooting on Nov. 1, blacklisting the home “pretty much as soon as it happened,” he said.