by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This week, JLF’s Jon Sanders published a research brief on Raleigh’s most recent restrictions on temporary rental in the city. According to Sanders:
WTVD reports on a market innovation filling an obvious need during a natural emergency: where can thousands of temporarily displaced families find places to stay?
In steps Airbnb with new supplies — and even volunteers who offer these supplies charitably:
“Until Sept. 16th, families displaced by Hurricane Dorian and deployed relief workers will be able to stay at the homes of more than 800 Airbnb hosts in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The offer is part of Airbnb’s Open Homes program. For more information, go to Airbnb’s website.
Airbnb’s map showed dozens of listings available in Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro and Winston-Salem.”
Next year, however, many of those Airbnbs will likely not be available. Sanders explains:
On May 21st, the Raleigh City Council passed tight restrictions on homestays (or short-term rentals), the kind of business Airbnb is in as the top “community-driven hospitality company.” Those restrictions (with some exemptions) include:
- You can’t rent your whole house
- You can’t rent more than two rooms
- You can’t rent to more than two adults per room
- You can’t rent rooms with a kitchen or cooking space
- You can’t rent rooms with privacy from the main home
- You can’t rent to anyone unless you are present on-site during their stay
- You can’t rent at all without first getting a permit for $172 and renewing it annually for $86
In July, the state government ratified a law meant to limit these local restrictions on short term rentals; however, Raleigh is not going to let go of its regulations that quickly. Sanders writes:
Raleigh city spokeswoman Julia Milstead told IndyWeek that, “after reviewing [the law], we do not believe it has any impact on the city’s current regulations related to short-term rentals.”
…In the meantime, as IndyWeek reported, “a lawsuit challenging the city’s rules … is in the works.” If the next city council doesn’t rethink Raleigh’s restrictions, that might be what it takes.