A Charlotte Landlord’s Perspective Regulating VRBO-Style Rentals
Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO have revolutionized travel by providing comfortable and affordable accommodations for families, tourists, out-of-town entrepreneurs and others – much like Uber. and Lyft have revolutionized transportation.
They also provide tax revenue and income to individuals, retirees, and small business owners like me.
I developed a community of 22 short-term rental homes on I-85 in northeast Charlotte. I live there too. My homes are among more than 3,170 active short-term rentals in Charlotte, up from about 1,300 in 2018.
However, with all growth comes growing pains.
The City of Charlotte dropped all of its proposed new regulations regarding short-term rentals on Friday, but is expected to revisit them once pending court cases and possible state legislation are decided.
The City had discussed imposing bylaws to deal with noise, traffic and parking complaints from people residing next to or near short-term rentals. I hope that when city officials take up the issue of short-term rentals, they will recognize that the pros of these rentals far outweigh the cons – and that the cons such as noise complaints, traffic issues parking/parking and property damage is the result of a small number of individuals who do not follow our city’s laws or the rules set by most short-term rental owners.
Over the past decade, short-term rentals have steadily captured hotel market share through listing platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO. While some owners of short-term rentals have apparently been less than diligent about activities on their properties, there are responsible owners and operators who rely on rental income to earn a living or support their retirement.
As a developer, landlord, and permanent resident in my short-term rental community, I think the City should focus on the real problem that needs to be solved: tenants are breaking the law and abusing private property by throwing parties at home.
Before abandoning its plan, the city was considering a registry of short-term rental owners, limiting parties and events, requiring a 400-foot distance between all short-term rental units and revoking a landlord’s privileges. if more than three violations were cited in a year on a given property.
While I applaud the idea of trying to eliminate noise complaints and other negative impacts from disruptive people, the City’s original proposal was flawed for several reasons.
The main problem is that the vast majority of owners and operators of short-term rentals are doing everything they can to prevent house parties and other disruptive behavior because it results in thousands of dollars in property damage, negative reviews and phone calls at 1am on weekends. .
The people who should be punished for throwing parties are the tenants, many of whom will lie about the intended use of the property and break house rules.
The 400 foot distancing requirement the city had considered is arbitrary and creates myriad issues regarding who can own/operate short-term rentals. For example, my homes are in the same subdivision, located about 20 feet apart and several hundred feet from other residential and commercial properties. Such a distancing requirement would bankrupt my business — and more than a dozen cleaning and maintenance workers, many of whom are single mothers.
I installed cameras along the entire street to monitor parties, traffic, noise and more. In the past year, only two parties have occurred out of 8,030 rental nights available. Both were closed as quickly as possible.
As the owner of a short-term rental community, I believe that when the city takes up this issue, it will need to focus on tenants who are breaking the law and abusing private property. The City should establish by-laws to deal with the negative aspects of noise complaints and traffic/parking issues, but without complicating the operation of short-term rental owners.
Brett Ermer operates a short-term rental community in Charlotte.