Are short term rentals (STR) a topic of conversation in your community? Maybe so, as nationally the STR market is expanding and is poised for further growth. National League of Cities (NLC) reports as a result of this growth, local leaders have had to grapple with competing benefits and challenges – in particular, how to ensure a healthy stock of affordable housing and how to support local tourism and economic development opportunities. This is a precarious balance.
Steamboat Springs is part of a wave of vacation towns across the country facing a housing crisis and grappling with how to regulate the industry they point to as a culprit: Short-term rentals such as those booked through Airbnb and VRBO that have squeezed small towns’ limited housing supply and sent rents skyrocketing for full-time residents.Bedayn, J. (August, 23, 2022). Amid housing crises vacation towns limit short-term rentals
In June, 2022, the Steamboat Springs City Council passed a ban on new short-term rentals in most of town and a ballot measure to tax the industry at 9% to fund affordable housing. The new ordinance creates three zones: the red zone, where new short-term rentals are prohibited, covers most of the city but those who have rented in the past 12 months can continue to operate; the yellow zone caps the number of new vacation rentals; and the green zone, set largely beneath the ski mountain, has no cap.
In smaller tourist destinations, Virginia’s Main Street communities like Cape Charles and Damascus, the solution must strike a delicate balance. Local leaders want to support the lodging industry that sustains their economies while limiting it enough to retain the workers that keep it running. The perfect solution is elusive.
Ultimately, it is important to know how short-term rentals are impacting your community. Then residents and local governments together can work towards effective solutions to protect local interests, determine what is best for your community.
While community responses to short-term rentals have ranged from all-out banning them to implementing no regulations at all, the NLC says the best solution for each community likely lies somewhere in between. To help understand the options NLC created Short-Term Rental Regulations: A Guide for Local Government.