City of Asheville has actively
ramped up its enforcement
of homestays and short-term rentals
In November 2015 and May 2016, City Council adopted updates to Asheville’s homestay regulations that included clarification of the definitions, a decrease in number of bedrooms that can be rented out in a homestay from three to two, and increased the number of zoning districts where homestays may be allowed. They also removed the separation requirement from 500 feet to no separation. The signed ordinances can be read here:
Homestays and short-term rentals
The City of Asheville allows two types of paid overnight lodging accommodations within a home or apartment for less than one month.
A homestay is the rental of a room or rooms in a private home. A permanent resident must reside at the property and be present in the home during the time of the homestay. Homestays can be permitted in residentially-zoned areas, if they meet the regulatory requirements for homestays and obtain a homestay permit.
Rental of a dwelling unit for less than a month is called a short-term rental (STR), and these types of uses are prohibited in all residential districts. STRs can only be permitted in certain non-residentially zoned areas that allow lodging facilities with a permit.
Regulation and enforcement
Shortly after the City updated its homestay regulations, Shannon Morgan was hired as homestay and short-term rental enforcement employee. His initial task was to help residents get permits for their conforming homestays or short-term rentals. Along with that, of course, comes enforcement.
So where are we with the program? Through June the City has:
- Processed 93 homestay applications
- Issued 86 permits
- Issued 72 notice of violations
- Issued 5 citations
“Since April, we actively ramped up our proactive enforcement efforts and have nearly doubled the amount of notice of violations issued,” said Development Services Director Jason Nortz.
Many notice of violations stem from neighborhood complaints.
“They seem to come in stages,” said Morgan. Following recent holiday weekends, for example, Morgan has seen a spike in complaints.
Some people want to be compliant and operate their homestay or STRs the right way. “But we are getting reports of properties that are being used as income properties owned by people who do not even live in the state of North Carolina,” Nortz said. Hence, the need for enforcement.
Violators can face $500 a day fines.
The City’s Legal Department has been involved in four cases, two of which have been resolved. The City may move forward with legal action in at least one outstanding case.
More staff to manage the program
With the new fiscal year that started July 1 came more resources for the City of Asheville to regulate the short-term rental and homestays community.
The $154.36 million budget adopted June 23 by City Council includes $130,000 for an additional enforcement officer and equipment for the City’s homestay and short-term rental programs. The money was generated from increased Development Services revenue. The new budget also funds a part-time administrative position to help process paperwork involved in licensing and enforcement.
With additional staff will come more regulation and enforcement.
Anyone interested in operating a legal homestay or STR should contact Shannon Morgan. He is available to answer questions and guide you through the process. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828- 259-5829.