If you haven’t seen articles concerning local governments trying to limit Airbnb or short term rentals you should really investigate. The reality is that if you don’t have any kind of short term laws in your community at this time, it will definitely change. In our markets we are in there is simply not the push to make this happen yet due to the lack of hotel space. And the real push to curb Airbnb is by the hotel industry lobby. They see it as a threat to their long term viability which is ludicrous on several fronts, but the reality is that they are spending millions of dollars to lobby local governments.
We follow the laws in every market we are in and would recommend to never break them. In the end, the government is bigger, stronger, and has the resources to stop illegal activity eventually. if you are currently in a market that has no regulation or rules become diligent and active to find out what’s coming or if there is anything you can do to be proactive. If there is a rule that comes down that all short term rentals must have a permit get it immediately. Why? Because if further regulations come in the years to come you will be grandfathered in. Rarely, will a municipality outlaw something completely after collecting revenue for the permitting process. Always remember government hates to cut back but loves to expand!
When I study several markets who are enacting legislation it has everything to do with revenue and not neighborhood preservation. I get a kick out of the municipalities who talk at length about short term rentals ruining neighborhoods, but they have been there for years and years. I know because I have had short term rentals for 20 years and never heard a peep. Now that the towns realize it’s a nice revenue source they want a piece of the pie. Have you seen increased services in markets where they have enacted regulations? Of course not, but it’s a nice source of additional revenue.
So, in the end make sure to pay attention to all upcoming prepatory meetings on regulation and enforcement. It’s definitely coming, and it’s just a matter of when it comes to your market. In the upcoming weeks I will try and post updates in markets that I know are having meetings and trying to enact laws moving forward. Lastly, try starting a meetup group with fellow hosts and owners and formulate a game plan if your elected officials start exploring next steps on laws and regulations. Communication and making our voices heard is the best way to be a part of the law making process.