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Yup. A 6 month emergency moratorium on new airbnbs, meaning no NEW listings as of June 6.
But, the bigger issue here is this. They have hired a consulting firm to conduct an in depth investigation on all listed properties (of which there are 907!). Their report is due to the city in 6 months. The city will then decide by March 2024 about any new zoning, finally have a permit process and enforcement process in place, and start to issue cease and desist orders to those then deemed “illegal”.
90% of these listings are in a zone that is squishy in the current code about STR’s being allowed. Many of those have been operating for years and years. Many individuals and small businesses make a living cleaning these homes. I am among this zone, and we are on high alert right now about what is coming down. Please, no lecturing about operating in a squishy zoned area.
I got a message from a current guest yesterday that our neighbor across the street yelled at them at 6:55 am as they were leaving for the day, “Airbnbs are illegal in this area! I am calling the city!” This is awful! It’s intimidation from a stranger who now feels entitled to start bullying strangers about a process he doesn’t understand. I don’t have to describe more about how unnerving and stressful that situation is for me right now, hundreds of miles away and a fully booked summer.
With all that said, here is where I need some advice.
Let’s say the city is starting to take such calls, the city decides to cease and desist. If it’s “immediately”, well, if someone is currently there for a few days I’m not going to kick them to the streets. But I will need to cancel all future bookings. In reading airbnbs host cancellation policy, this situation does not present as one of the options without penalty. But it would be an illegal stay. Thoughts on this?
I have made a “quick reply” for if future guests get yelled at again, explaining I have heard we have a vocal neighbor and here’s what is going on with big apologies and tell me if you are now uncomfortable in staying. Maybe he had his peace in one yell, maybe not. Thoughts on this?
There’s probably more things I’m not thinking of. Any other advice on this situation is welcome.
Your response will depend on the exact wording of any order and the potential penalties. The exact wording of the six-month moratorium you cite is important because, without seeing the language, it seems to implicitly approve current listings such as yours or at least suspend any enforcement action until March 2024 at earliest. Even then the city might need to enact legislation, which itself might not call for immediate enforcement – or you might be grandfathered or might qualify to become licensed, really it’s impossible to know now.
My response would depend, in part, on the language of the moratorium. But, just guessing at that, I might say something like: 'I’m sorry that you experienced such an outburst. Regrettably, not everyone understands the city’s position on short-term rentals (STRs), that it imposed a moratorium for new listings (mine is not new) and that the city expects to release a report on STRs in March 2024. Are you otherwise enjoying your stay? "
Expect some kind of public process either ongoing now (check) or no later than when the report is issued. Participate in that process.
It’s not too early to contact your local representative with a carefully reasoned letter explaining your position. Ideally that letter responds to whatever opinions have been voiced in the public arena in your city. Explore whether there are Facebook or other groups advocating for or against city action to at least understand the terms of the debate. Consider how much of a role you wish to play in this process.
I would solicit letters from your cleaner, anyone else who works for you, the businesses that benefit from your guests, and include them in submissions to your local planners, so they can see the economic impact should you and other strs get shut down.
It doesn’t help that you have a neighbor who is not only opposed but feels entitled to scream at your guests. Because letters from neighbors saying your Airbnb creates no issues would of course help.
You would also have a better place to argue from if you weren’t a remote host renting out an entire place, because those are the kind of rentals that regs in most places target. If it’s a place you use yourself as a vacation home, that would be a plus in your favor, but quite honestly, places which are simply investments owned by out-of-town hosts are usually what communities object to, often with good reason. I can fully understand neighbors not wanting a constant parade of strangers coming and going, especially with a host who may not have built any relationship with the neighbors and community. (which of course doesn’t justify screaming at your guests).
Muddy, we are within the same state, 2.5 hours drive, and have no issue staying there 51% per COUNTY code, if it makes us “legal”. The City code is is not detailed but we think the county code takes precedence?
I really don’t know anything about county vs. city codes.
And I was just pointing out that it’s usually the entire homes with off-site hosts that get complaints from neighbors, who then talk to local authorities. My neighbors wouldn’t even know that I host a private room in my home unless I told them, because it’s only one guest at a time, and they cause no commotion, plus almost none arrive by car. As far as my neighbors would know if they saw them coming and going, it could just be a friend or relative visiting. You may not have gotten any guests who caused a distubance, but plenty entire place listings with off-site hosts do.
Of course if a host lives in their rental some of the time, and establishes a good relationship with the neighbors, they are much less likely to complain, unless the guests are rowdy, block their driveways, etc. And also there are neighbors like yours sounds like, just nasty people, who just like to complain and try to get you shut down, even if your guests are quiet and cause no issues.
But I can also understand when neighbors don’t like Airbnbs in their hood even if the guests aren’t problematic. For instance, as someone who raised 3 daughters, I wouldn’t have wanted a remote-host listing near me when they were growing up. I would have zero idea if any of these unknown strangers constantly coming and going were child molestors and it would be stressful to have that concern all the time.
You’re assuming that planning depts and consulting firms would only know about your Airbnb by poring over local listings during business hours? Bureaucrats get brownie points and promotions for stuff like this and lots of people work from home. They can scour the local listings at 11pm if they want. And they probably have computer programs that can, too.
And there are plenty of places that have bans or restrictions that are in contact with Airbnb and it’s Airbnb that will suspend or delist hosts who aren’t complying.
There was a kerfuffle in Toronto in the past year where hosts got shut down because they didn’t have licenses. Many of the hosts had applied for the licenses and qualified, or already had licenses that the city was saying were invalid, but it turned out Toronto was rejecting licenses or considering them invalid if the Airbnb address was different in any way from the info submitted to the city by hosts. Stupid stuff like it saying #25 Main Street on one and #25 Main St. on the other. Toronto was in communication with Airbnb and hosts woke up one morning to find all their listings suspended.