The long and short of short term rentals in Asheville ***Updated with Video***

"for rent" sign in front of rental house

Updated April 1, 2015: Watch video of the March 25 Short Term Rental forum, including staff reports and public comments, here:

Original story below:

Short-term rentals are a hot topic in Asheville right now. The rise of online services allowing homeowners to advertise their residences as vacation rentals has become a conversation in communities across the country, and Asheville is no exception.

This Wednesday, that conversation continues, as Asheville City Council hosts a community forum  on short-term rentals at the U.S. Cellular Center. The event will begin at 5 p.m. with an informal opportunity to talk with Council members and City staff, followed by a staff presentation.

“We are certainly hearing the community buzz around this issue,” said Interim Planning Director Alan Glines. “Right now our goal is to provide a clear understanding of the city’s ordinances surrounding short term rentals, look at some comparisons to other communities and to present as much context as possible for City Council to consider.”

Some of that context includes differentiating between home-stays (where property owners live in the home year-round and rent out a space on a short-term basis) and cases when entire homes are rented by the week and property owners are not present.

Currently, the Unified Development Ordinance allows for short-term rentals (defined as renting property for less than 30 days) only in areas zoned for lodging. With the exceptions of approved bed-and-breakfasts and home-stays, this kind of use is not allowed in areas zoned residential.

“That’s where we are hearing most of the conversation happening,” Glines says. Last year, the City of Asheville commissioned a study on the impacts of short-term rentals, and a forum held earlier this year by the Convention and Visitors Bureau drew a couple of hundred participants. The issue has also been placed front and center at neighborhood association meetings.

The issue is obviously important to many people from all sides of this discussion. Wednesday’s event will help add voices to that conversation and allow city staff to provide clarity to some misconceptions.

As with hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, the City of Asheville doesn’t collect any room tax or sales tax from short-term rentals. But in the case of home-stays and bed-and-breakfasts, the city does have some building code requirements that property owners need to meet. To operate a home-stay, the property owner must register for a change of use from a single-family home to a home-stay, and anyone wanting to know if their neighbor has an approved home-stay can call (828) 259-5846.

Link to YouTube Video of Forum  (added 3/30/15)