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Short-Term Rentals (STRs) & AirBnB

"Welcome to Raleigh Ya'll, you're all welcome to come but you'll have to stay at a hotel or outside the city if you want a more personal experience." This is the message that our "Council of No" (CoN) conveys by saying they don't want STRs here. A short-term rental(STR) is the term used to describe businesses like AirBnB, which do exist in Raleigh, but are banned by the city council.

Why though? Fear, hypocrisy, false comparisons with other cities, an appeal to ridicule, & general ignorance. The major fear being New Orleans, the example of how NOT to allow AirBnB. For those not aware, New Orleans has almost no regulation on STRs whcih has caused housing to be bought up for STRs by homeowners and businesses alike. So much so that it has caused a noticeable issue with the locals. This is the driving force behind many CoN members.

How do we prevent this from happening? Strict regulation on STRs for starters, and then we can repeal and modify the regulation as need be. The City Council setup a STR Committee, which was a panel of those who favored and opposed STRs, to come up with possible rules and regulations. Please forward to 48:00 on the video to see regulations proposed by the STR Committee:

These are the regulations proposed, in brief, with 3 types of STR options:

  • Type 1 would have a resident manager on site while being rented.
  • Type 2 would require a manager to be on site 181 calendar days of the year, but not while being rented.
  • Type 3 would not require a manager, however, they would only be allowed in mixed-use areas.
  • Will be required to obtain a zoning permit along with a $150 fee. Permits will be renewed yearly at a rate of $82. Granting a permit requires insurance and inspection of the city.
  • All STRs will be required to follow the existing standards from the Bed & Breakfast regulations including: posting of the owner's contact information, rules of the rental property, and maintenance of the guest registry for the city.
  • Regulations regarding the square footage of a rental property, as well as cooking facilities will be established for safety.
  • Outdoor advertising and using an STR for special events is prohibited.
  • Any violation of these rules and regulations, noise ordinances, or any criminal activity shall be cited by the city.
  • Any 2 violations in a 365 day period will lead to a revocation of the STR permit and shall not be reissued to the property or the STR owner.

One member of the CoN, Russ Stephenson, had this to say about STRs:

 

It's ok to stay at AirBnBs everywhere else, but not Raleigh? No Russ, STRs do not take up affordable housing units. It's this sort of absurdity & hypocrisy that sets up road blocks for innovation, entrepreneurship, and prosperity in our city. Both Russ Stephenson and Kay Crowder have been instrumental in blocking any possibility for allowing STRs. What are the positives that these 2 council members are trying to block?

  • Home owners bringing in extra revenue. Has there been a time when you needed or wanted to bring in extra cash to help your finances? Car repairs, bills, or even just wanting to live a better lifestyle are reason enough for some.
  • Raleigh Hospitality. When folks come to Raleigh, we want to put on a good face and show everyone that people in our city are welcoming. An STR allows citizens of Raleigh to show hospitality that is unseen in most hotels.
  • Availability for prospecting relocation or work. Raleigh is growing every day and it will continue to grow. People will be wanting to move here from all over and staying in a hotel can get downright expensive and is pretty cookie cutter everywhere you go. If you are looking to relocate then an STR is great because it will most likely be cheaper and closer to the areas you're looking for. STRs also help with work as well. Traveling nurses, for example, wish to come to Raleigh but have voiced a concern about the lack of rental options for their time limited contracts. STRs are perfect for them as well!

Whole Home Rentals

After the healthy housing meeting on 27 November 2018, many hosts showed up to voice their opinions on why we should allow whole home rentals, as well as neighbors that want more restrictions. The take away from that meeting is the same as the bullet points listed above but also, whole home rentals offered a different experience though. Here are some highlights on why we should allow whole home rentals and also some restrictions to place on them:

  • Privacy - Sometimes you don't want to see anyone in the house besides yourself or your fellow guests. You want some privacy. Not everyone wants to meet the host. Some just want a place to vacation without having to be restricted to a small room or having to deal with lots of people at a hotel.
  • Options - Raleigh can be costly to stay at, spending $2-300 a night at local hotels. Being able to have a room or a whole home to rent for a night or more can give plenty of options for everyone at a much more reduced rate. This is money that is going back into the local economy.
  • Safety & Maintenance - All short-term rentals, not just whole home rentals, must be kept up to code at all times inside and out. The safety of the renter is paramount. All STR's will need to be inspected to make sure they are safe to be rented. The exterior of the rental will need to be maintained as well. This means that the lawn must be mowed, clean from trash and debris, & maintenance must be performed to keep the exterior tidy and presentable.
  • Parking - This is a very large issue with whole home rentals. We MUST regulate parking of STR's. Neighbors of whole home rentals that are operating inside Raleigh are complaining that guests are taking up parking for residents. I propose that each STR host must designate parking for the guest(s) and shall not exceed two parking spots on a street with size permitting. Parking must be designated and enforced so we do not push out our own residents.

In short, I am FOR STR's, including whole home rentals, with regulations.


Committee to Elect James Bledsoe
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