A Storm is Brewing - Lodging Newsletter December 31st, 2019
By Wm, May
Published: 12/31/19 Topics: Government, Lodging Newsletter, Regulations Comments: 0
In case you are unaware, there are storms brewing in the vacation rental world.
The first is the constant drumbeat of government officials to tax, regulate, or even prohibit owners from renting out their homes on a short-term basis.
Having followed the industry for many years, this is nothing new but, the drums are getting more frequent as the number of rental homes increases and as government officials see vacation rentals as a scapegoat for other problems they face.
Their lack of perspective is astounding as they try to stifle the best thing that has come to many communities in decades. Vacation Rentals create jobs and income for geographic areas where employment can be scarce.
Scaring away families who buy second homes, love the community, spend time there and then invite others to use their homes is a terrible disservice to their local economies.
There are many political issues of more importance than Vacation Rentals, but now property owners are finding they must fight to retain the "bundle of rights, that come with real estate ownership; the rights of possession, control, exclusion, enjoyment, and disposition."
Recently, a group of officials from multiple counties met in secret to figure out how to whittle away at that bundle. They want to prohibit or regulate vacation rentals to death, using impossible requirements not required of homes in general.
Immediately after the meeting, counties began imposing moratoriums on vacation rentals, ostensibly to "study the issue." County Council members were duped. Moratoriums are often used to confront new situations, but there is nothing new about vacation rentals.
Even the founding fathers stayed in rented homes on a short-term basis. Officials who did not plan for and reasonably regulate rentals beginning decades ago were not doing their jobs.
Over time, opponents of vacation rentals have concocted many ridiculous reasons when attempting to control their neighbors' property rental rights, such as comments about too many cars, noise, septic systems or xenophobia, "I just don't want people next door that I do not know."
At one review meeting, the county Sheriff testified that there are far more problems with homes occupied by full-time owners and long-term tenants than vacation rentals. In fact, he reported, "We don't really have any problems with short-term rentals."
That is because vacation rental home owners have strong economic motivation to keep their homes in good condition, to qualify guests and to control their behavior. Failure to do so would result in bad reviews and less income.
Oblivious officials are hallucinating if they think that disallowing short-term rentals would cause second home owners to rent out their homes on an "affordable basis" to local citizens. That is an spurious idea for two reasons.
One: People buy second homes to USE THEM intermittently for family and friends, but renting long-term would prohibit them from doing so. And, two: Second homes tend to be of higher value and owners would be never rent their costly investments for cheap.
On the other hand, Vacation Rentals do help local citizens. They create jobs by bringing upscale visitors to town, where they dine out, buy groceries, require cleaning, undertake activities, and spend money that supports the local economy and jobs. That is especially true in some rural and recreational areas, where jobs are scarce and economic benefits are so greatly needed.
So this is a call to arms. If you believe that property owners should retain their bundle of rights, then watch your city and county officials very carefully, now before they can sneak in dubious regulations or prohibitions. Start lobbying them right away to educate them on what a great value vacation rentals are for your community. Go to a meeting. Tell them how wrong they are.
Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0717 – 12/31/19
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com
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