Asheville City Council votes to create ADU-short-term rental task force

At its May 17 meeting, Asheville City Council took a two-step approach to considering use of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to be used as homestays. For now, Council voted against allowing ADUs to be used as homestays, but consideration of the issue will continue, as Council voted to create a task force to look at the issue more closely.

The votes came after an hour of public comment, with Council members listening as residents spoke on both sides of the issue.

What are accessory dwelling units? ADUs are additional living quarters on single-family lots that are independent of the primary dwelling unit. The separate living spaces are equipped with kitchen and bathroom facilities, and can be either attached or detached from the main residence. Examples are garage apartments or backyard cottages.

So for now, Asheville garage apartments and cottages can be legally used for long-term rentals in residentially zoned areas, defined as anything rented for more than a month. A long-term rental is a month or more while short-term rentals are for less than a month.

In November, Council voted to allow residents to run what is called “homestay” short-term rentals. A homestay is the rental of up to two rooms in a private home. A permanent resident must be staying in the home during the time of the homestay. Homestays can be permitted in residential areas if they meet the regulatory requirements of the zone district. The homestay ordinance can be read here

Violations can carry fines of $500 a day.

Here is a link to the City of Asheville homestay application, which also outlines the guidelines.

For more information, contact Zoning Code Enforcement Officer Shannon Morgan at or 828-259-5829.

In 2015, Council voted to allow residents to build larger ADU units to help address the City’s rental housing shortage. The accessory dwelling unit ordinance can be read here. The ordinance defines an accessory dwelling unit as a “separate and complete dwelling unit that is contained on the same lot as the structure of a single-family dwelling or business.”