A communication from another Air lister

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Anon Inn's picture
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09/26/2011

Last night I got a message from another Air provider where our small city vacation rental is located.  She was very concerned the city is imposing new short term rental regulations in an effort to maximize the number of long term rentals for full time city residents.  She was proposing Air hosts mob the city council for the 2nd reading and adoption of the ordinance and STR changes.  

I asked if she has an existing license.  Yes.  So I read the proposed ordinance changes, (available online) and informed her that according to my read, she would have to make few if any changes, as those who are licensed before January 1, 2019 can continue as non-conforming STRs.  A steep Homestay license $500, and fire inspection will be required ($300), but those who are currently legal will likely not be forced to quit.  

I am relieved, as our single in-city STR has made a big difference in our retirement income. To lose it would mean a 10K yearly reduction.  Not a disaster, but quite a hit. 

notAgrandma's picture
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We've watched the # of Air listings skyrocket from 300 three years ago to 1200 this year. I've listed on Air but rarely received bookings through them. I can't compete with the ridiculously low prices my neighbor are offering. A 6-bedroom home 2 blocks from me rents their entire house for $275 a night + $200 cleaning fee. If their guests stay 2 nights, that's about the same as 2 of my rooms. For the past 3 years, legal B&B owners begged the city to regulate STRs. Now 4 B&Bs have closed in the past year -- including us. Our city is down to 8 legal B&Bs.

Three days ago, I received an email from Air saying they've reached an agreement with my city and will be collecting and remitting city hotel & lodging taxes for all Air listings. The hosts don't need to do anything. So now STRs have no need to have business licenses or file city or state taxes. My city will gain over $1 million in tax revenue. There goes any hope of regulation, and this reinforces my decision to sell.

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Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. - John Wooden

 

Anon Inn's picture
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That is a fierce number of Air listings!.   Too rural here, even in our small city, for even close to that number.  City council members are concerned about keeping enough housing for workers to live in the city.  Totally get that.  We rent one unit month to month.  The Air unit is where I stay too, so not taking long term housing.  City will require fire safety regs.  We already comply with the proposed rules.  

May your sale be quick, easy and lucrative!

PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

I'd tell them to go pound sand. I'd rather give the business to a competitor that complies with all the licensing and regulatory rules we do than help an STR. 

One of my competitor had an STR ask him if they could advertise their rental on his website! He was much nicer than I would have been.

We have over 100 STR units in a town of only 1,200 people. It's a plague.

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Darren
Innkeeper & Owner

 

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05/13/2018

As an owner of a small real B&B, STR's should be reviewed on their operation.  We had to go through a review with city for approval and review of neighborhood impact and have to abide by the regulations set by the town, on top of having to pay for permits, licenses, health certs., higher taxes, etc.  In addition we are required to provide off-street parking, install fire sprinklers and safety systems, which are not cheap.  I would be more agreeable in business terms to STR's if they had to follow the same rules, leveling the playing field and not be a business in disguise as just a home. The impact on STR's on affordable housing is another concern around the world.  

There are several STR's in our town, where they are renting more than what is allowed, having their guests park on the street causing some issue with neighborhood residents, offering special event spaces in a backyard, which isn't allowed for real B&B's in our town, just to name a couple of unfair issues.  Do I think they are impacting our revenue? Possibly.  But it was insulting when on Air owner contacted me to ask for me to direct our "overflow" to him.  I ignored the request but wanted to reply if he would like to contribute to our marketing budget then.  I am sure we disagree, but wanted to give a different point of view.

Anon Inn's picture
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The city has drafted an ordinance requiring new STRs to be in a house where the owner resides.  Part of the application process is written permission from neighbors.  No kitchen in the STR room, though kitchen privileges in the resident owners house is OK.  Off street parking required.   

Ours is a self contained studio flat in the upstairs level of our house.  As we are licensed and current in our taxes, we will be allowed to continue as we have been as a non conforming STR.  Part of our approval process was to be in a permitted zone and have the required parking.  The woman who contacted me has a cottage she lets out as an approved legal STR.  I think she did not read the ordinance carefully and was panicking a bit.  

For those who don’t know me - I started with a two guest room B&B over 10 years ago.  I added a legal self catering apartment in 2011, put our B&B rooms on Air in 2015 and added the city STR 2 years ago.  All legal plus where required, inspected.  

 

JimBoone's picture
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CSMaine wrote:

I would be more agreeable in business terms to STR's if they had to follow the same rules

I think that's the real issue, why should anyone "be in business" if you can reap the same benefits without the hassle?

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Jim & Maxine

 

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

JimBoone wrote:

CSMaine wrote:

I would be more agreeable in business terms to STR's if they had to follow the same rules

I think that's the real issue, why should anyone "be in business" if you can reap the same benefits without the hassle?

Exactly! For every dollar I bring in, 85 cents goes out the door to pay for business expenses.

And, when I sell, I'm selling as a business and have to make up the depreciation tax I avoided for years.

However, given I get 3-4 bookings per year from air, I'm sticking with my biz model.

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Never judge a person's story by the chapter you walked in on.

 

Anon Inn's picture
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09/26/2011

And you are in a popular area with many lodging alternatives.  I am concerned about the growing percentage of our Air guests overall, even though our bottom line trends upward yearly.  Hoping to address the Air guest trend this year and grow more direct bookings.  Too much personal grief last year to get any of that done.  Getting better.  Smiling

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