Friday, June 5, 2015

Cities That Chase Their Short Term Rentals Away...

Have you heard the expression "shooting yourself in the foot".  The expression is shorthand for pointing out self-defeating behavior.

Many counties and cities exhibit this behaviour in their reaction to Short Term Rentals.  Its not too unusual to see:
  • a city, county or region that spends millions of dollars each year in an attempt to attract tourists, but passes laws that outlaw one of the most highly preferred lodging options for those tourists -- short term rentals.
  • cities and countys that spend several years courting a big business to come to their aea, because that big business brings jobs and tax revenues and prosperity when it opens its doors, but passes laws that are destructive to a thriving vacation rental economy that provides just as many jobs, just as much tax revenue, and just as much economic prosperity.
  • a city that spends millions to redevelop a section of their community, while outlawing activity of vacation rental owners, who have a history of redeveloping neighborhoods and improving property values, at their own expense.
  • city and county officials that complain about the lack of citizen participation, but are offended and refuse to listen when a hundred people show up at a meeting to tell them they are on the wrong track in their efforts to interfere with local vacation rental activity.
Vacation rentals impact local neighborhoods, just like longer term rentals do, but the economic, social and ecological impacts of disbursing your tourists in houses across a community are arguably much less than the impacts of developing large hotels and resorts.

In many communities tourism is seasonal, and a hotel and tourism district looks like a ghost town when the season is over, but in those same communities, vacation rentals tend to bring in families and business travelers all year long.

When factories and big box stores and other big businesses come into a community they create problems and bring benefits.  Legislators make agreements and appropriately regulate these operations, to manage the problems and maximize the benefits.  The same approach works well with vacation rentals.   

Responsible and thoughtful regulation of short term rentals can and should be done in a manner that is consistent with other goals of a community.

Doug Coates

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Thoughtful comments are welcome, whether you are in favor of vacation rentals or concerned about the impacts of VRs on your community. Comments that contain advertising, including ads for properties, will be deleted.