Vacation Rental Owners and Cities Seek Alternatives to a Lockout

Creative Commons License - Rick Carmichael

By Joe Killinger

The vacation rental market seems to be going through a bit of a challenge as of late, with many cities opting to just shut down or limit the options for the vacation rental owners. I have had conversations with a few cities around the country about why they are not allowing vacation rentals via the sites that have been so successful for the home owners/hosts and the bottom line has been the number of complaints from the neighbors of the vacation rental properties.

The owners/hosts of many of these properties rely on the income from these sites to help pay the bills associated with owning a property and some are utilizing this process to generate a nice additional revenue stream, so we know that the owners/hosts would like to come to an agreement on a process that would allow them to continue their business instead of being locked out and potentially losing their property.

The growing number of cities that are not allowing these sites to be used seem to have the same issues, rowdy tenants, noises at all hours of the night, people they don’t know coming into their community and simply just overall bad behavior. Although the vacation rental sites drive a good amount of revenue to the cities that allow them, it increases visits to restaurants, retail stores and many other services the cities believe that the negatives it also brings outweighs the benefits.

The companies running the websites say they are doing everything they can to verify the individuals are who they say they are. There is also a review process that allows for rating the host and the tenant after they have conducted a transaction. While this process seems to work on a majority of the properties, there is still a good number of hosts left very unhappy. Also, the renters that bring the bad reputation are the ones that have figured a way around the current screening processes.

How do we resolve this issue?

In my conversation with a few of these cities there seems to be a desire to figure out a process but no real direction has been decided, a common remark has been to create a set of guidelines that the host gives to each of the tenants so they are aware of the community ordinances and guidelines. Most cities also would like a better vetting process to determine that the person renting the property is who they say they are.

The question is, how do we best vet people without scaring them away from the sites offering the rentals? The guidelines for community may help, background checks would also help, but would it keep potential tenants from using the sites? The field is open for discussion and I am hoping we can find a resolution to this for both the owners/hosts and the cities sake. We would love to hear your take on other options.

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