Short Term Rental Ban

Here to vent and take any advice or shared angst.
The town in which I have my rental just banned short term rentals. I am mad, devastated, confused…you name it. In my area, a popular tourist area, many cities, towns, & villages have begun regulating STRs. Some areas put a moratorium on new STRs, some have to seek special permits, and just yesterday, mine is within an area that has an all out ban. They have stated hosts have 30 days to stop or face steep fines. There is a group of hosts seeking legal action which I have not (yet) joined. I don’t see how this is legal, but even more, it just baffles me.
I’ve hosted for nearly 2 years and have 100% 5 star reviews. It’s been a joy to host, I just love it.
I have 16 upcoming bookings with more to come for the summer I am sure. I will lose so much revenue if I cannot continue.

Has anyone lived in an area that has done a simliar/same thing?
This sucks. I am so so sad!

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The usual reason for a ban is a lack of rental properties available for long term rentals for locals.
You say you are in a tourist area.
How saturated is your market and what is the availability of long term rentals like?
Where I am, a very touristy area will be bringing in a maximum of 60 nights rentable a year for STR, in unhosted homes, come September.
The issue there is that many of these homes are extremely high end and I cannot see locals renting these as the weekly rent would be astronomical and unaffordable for the demographic that needs the housing. There are over 3000 listings in a fairly small area.

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Well, if they aren’t allowed to str those homes anymore, then there isn’t such a thing as weekly rent, right? The homeowners would have to do longterm leases at much less than they now get for str.

@CLM I’m sorry you can’t host anymore. Sometimes I can understand the bans or restrictions, for instance if a lot of the rentals get guests who disturb the neighbors. I can also understand that neighbors don’t like having a steady stream of strangers coming and going from an entire house rental near them.

And I could understand hotels getting together and driving these bans if the hotels are suffering from low vacancy rates. But if they are full most of the time, opposing strs just seems mean-spirited.

I’m also opposed to strs with remote investor hosts who just have property managers and no involvement with the community. But hosts who live nearby or onsite and whose rentals don’t cause problems for anyone should be allowed to continue as long as there isn’t a big housing crisis for locals- I do have sympathy for that. It’s natural that there would be resentment if there is a lack of affordable housing and people see others being able to afford to own not only the house they live in, but more houses they rent out short term.

Usually bans and restrictions are something that is awhile in the making and are open to public input. Were there no local city council meetings on this before they announced the ban? I’d be surprised if they just did this out of the blue. If they did, giving hosts only 30 days to shut down is definitely unfair, as many hosts would have bookings already beyond 30 days.


It is quite likely that any “new” regulations were in the works when you started hosting. As Muddy said, these regulations don’t appear overnight. Part of the due diligence when starting any business is to inform yourself of licensing requirements and proposed requirements, zoning changes and so on.

Local communities regulate property everywhere in the United States (I assume you are a US host.) Doesn’t your local government have all kinds of city codes that regulate what people can do on their property? For example, parking on the lawn or having overgrown weeds is prohibited. It’s illegal to build a structure right on the property line. I can’t make a curb cut to add a driveway without a permit. I’m sure your city has similar regulations, you have just not been aware until they affected you.

Occasionally the state government will overrule a local government. For example Texas has passed a law putting limits on the cities that want to ban STR. My city has proposed regulations in the last few months. Airbnb sent me information about it. However, I don’t live in a tourist city and we don’t have any debates about housing shortages or high rents.


Local authorities make decisions that aren’t necessarily based on what one person loves. They take into account the community as a whole and its well-being.

In many areas, housing for local people (local children, workers, disabled, police, teachers, medical staff, the elderly etc etc.) is a priority.

All over the country and in many other parts of the world, authorities have a duty to create that housing.

In recent years, people have thought that it’s a good idea to offer STR without doing so legally - some don’t get the required local licences, proper STR insurance and so on and those people (often remote investors as @muddy said) and it’s understandable that local authorities will clamp down on that.

Unfortunately some ‘real’ hosts will get caught up in the process too.

I had a neighbour who was caught out by this - and was told that he’d have to pay $500 per day for every day that his listing remained online. (Quite a few years ago too, when $500 went a lot further than it does today).

When you started your business what were your contingency plans?

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Where I am we currently have a “pause” on new permits and when they get around to issuing new permits there is a cap on the total number so only 30ish permits will come available. To add insult the county is giving priority to a group of unpermited STR’s who have been paying the TOT tax. So basically if you want to buy a house here with the idea of using it as an STR in our touristy little town you are SOL.

The NIMBYS who brought all this on are damaging our local economy which depends on visitors every weekend.


How do they define “short term”?

If it is – say – 30 days, you could go into “settings” in your listing and test the market for 30+ day stays. If most of the competition closes down locally, the “leftovers” might just include enough 30-day stays to keep you in business.

When we re-opened after COVID we changed our minimum to one week and were terrified we were putting ourselves out of business. It was the best move we ever made – we were so busy taking care of people staying one or two or three nights we never discovered how many one week plus stays were out there+ days, and now half are reservations are for at least a month in the3 marketplace. We also started offering a sizable discount for 28 days, and now half our reservations are at least a month.

If you try this, do so quietly… because if everyone does it there won’t be enough long-term business to go around.


Thank you.
The area I am in itself, is a small town within 12 miles of the touristy area. And that tourist area is not a welcoming area (lots of poverty), so people love staying at my place to visit there and enjoy the small town where my house is located. It is in the town, very near the village line.

The town board voted 3-2 to ban ALL town str’s (and bed & breakfasts). The town supervisor was one of the two who voted AGAINST the ban. There are 10 of us. Ten str’s in the whole town. There are 7,000 homes in this town.
In the village there are over 50 and there was a cap put on that last year, which makes perfect sense to me. There are 6,400 homes in the village.
It even makes sense to me to have regulations for the town rentals. I’ll buy a permit, no problem. But this board came in with an all out ban. Two of those board members own str’s. One is local, the other owns one 100 miles away and keeps mentioning “absent owners”.

KKC, this was not in the works when I began. This began two months ago and there were 2 public meetings on this where all hosts who could attend did. But this town decides things as they see fit. I am actually quite amazed at the support for the property owners. I have heard far more support than any complaints about having these 10 rentals here. There is talk of legal action, but we know how long that can take.

As far as renting for 30 days or more. Yes, that would be allowed. But at the price point I get per night, that would be outrageous. But I’ll consider what I can possibly do.

IF I do have to cancel them. What is the best way to do so? Do I explain and then cancel? Or can I ask the guest to cancel their own reservation as to not affect my rating? I do have plans for another rental (though I don’t know if I can change over my profile from this rental to that one before closing this one down as to keep all my ratings/reviews) TIA for any advice and for your kindness. This has been truly heartbreaking…a dream come true and now crushed.

Yeah the “rules” are very different in small towns where the elite power makers are even more elite. Most elected officials are only afraid of one thing, losing reelection so make sure to participate any any campaigns against them for office. If they made a ban that takes effect after just 2 months then they can un-make the ban as well.

Your ratings and reviews are attached to your profile forever- they are your reviews as a host, not attached to any specific property. You can add or delete as many listings as you want.

Of course those reviews won’t show on a new listing, but under the review section of a new listing, it will say, " This host has xx number of reviews for other properties" and when guests click on that, it takes them to your profile page where they can see all your past reviews.

No, do not ask the guests to cancel. It isn’t their fault that you can’t host anymore and if they cancel, they will lose the Airbnb service fee.

You should contact Airbnb, submitting the proof that this ban has been passed, and ask them to cancel the bookings with no penalties to you, as the situation is not in your control. Hopefully they agree to do this without a huge hassle.

I would also message all booked guests whose reservations will have to be cancelled to explain the situation and tell them you are trying to get Airbnb to cancel ASAP, so they aren’t left in the lurch with no place to stay and will be able to look for another place to book, although they won’t be able to find one in your town, as all are banned.

I had to cancel my reservations for last June because I needed to apply for a permit (new regulations). I assumed it would take an entire month. I contacted Airbnb and I sent them the letter from the township, this way I was allowed to cancel my reservations for June without being penalized. Then I contacted each guest through the platform explaining the situation. Make sure you contact Airbnb first before canceling your reservations. Otherwise, Airbnb will penalize you financially.

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And a host might think, “How can they penalize me financially if I’m not actively hosting?”, since they can’t raid your bank account, but if the host ever lists another place again, those financial penalties will be deducted from their future payouts.


Ha. Yea. Not likely. They created the ban and amended their zoning in order to shut down all airbnbs. Mission accomplished.
The allow str’s in “rural areas”…if you knew the few areas they announced you’d be appalled. Literally intersections where there are no homes, gas stations or a college on the corners (again, no homes), and one intersection where the town hall sits.
So yea, they aren’t changing their minds. I am sure they are reviling in creating what they want for “THEIR” town.

Jaquo, I am quite aware my love of hosting does not play into any decisions made by the board. Obviously. If you read my statements, the majority of the community is in support of KEEPING strs.
I also stated that there are 10 strs in this town of 7,000+ homes.
I am aware of all the potential problems created by absentee hosts, in other words, hosts who do it for reasons other than LOVE of it. This town is affluent, the hosts keep up the homes, as the town supervisor said himself, better than some of the local residents do with their own homes.
Contingency plan? I’ll sell the home in a week’s time and probably make a profit. But that is not what I want to do…because I LOVE it and this should not have happened.

Thank you for this. and your kindness.

Thank you for this. .

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I’m glad you aren’t going to suffer financially as a result of this and are free to make this decision. I also don’t depend on my Airbnb income and so can be rather nonchalant about proposed regulations. It really sounds quite hopeless for the other hosts in your town.

In order to encourage the guests to be “the canceller” why not write to them and saying.

"The municipality where this Airbnb is located is trying to shut down all Airbnbs and Bed&Breakfasts. There is a strong possibility I will be out of business by [date of reservation].

I am telling all my reserved guests, including you, that the only way to protect yourself from last minute disappointment is to cancel your reservation with me and make a new one with an Airbnb located outside the boundaries of [name municipality].

I am sorry it has come to this – it is affecting all the Airbnbs in this town and all their guests, and – unless the the town board reverses its decision in response to public backlash – there is nothing I can do except to encourage my guests to protect themselves by making alternate arrangements elsewhere."

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That’s a good message to explain why the guests can’t be accommodated, but if the guests cancel, they will lose their Airbnb service fees.

They will also be refunded according to the cancellation policy, and while the host can authorize a full refund, that doesn’t include the guest service fee unless the host is willing to cover that as well. That would be a big financial hit to the host.


Does the guest lost their fees if they phone and say "I am relocating from property A to property B, same dates.