City of Lawton enforcing occupancy taxes and licensing on short-term rental properties

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 10:20 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The City of Lawton attracts a lot of tourists, especially being home to the Ft. Sill military base since this causes visitors to book short-term rentals like Airbnbs and Vrbos.

A short-term rental ordinance requires all short-term rental property owners to have a license in order to rent their property. Judy Franco who is the IT Director for the City of Lawton said the clock is ticking for owners to comply.

“It was voted into ordinance in February 2021 and at that point, that’s when we were looking for a vendor Granicus host compliance to help us find all those short-term rental property owners,” Franco said.

Franco stated that there are 264 properties in Lawton used as short-term rentals and all parties involved were aware of the new license.

“They did know about it and we currently have two that are actually a part of it and actually have come in to pay for their short-term rental,” Franco said.

Starla Gaddy, an Airbnb owner, actually agrees with the new plan and says this is normal in the renter business.

“So this is actually a standard fee in most Airbnbs and most other areas but it’s just basically like a hotel tax that people will be paying on top of their regular taxes,” Gaddy said.

She also says this could really help the City of Lawton.

“I think it’s necessary because our economy is going down,” Gaddy said. “As far as the hotel tax, that funds a lot of things in the community. You know it seems like an expense that people would be irritated by, however, I think it’s good for our overall economy and I think hosts just need to raise their price up to recoup that.”