Letter: Don’t allow government interference with short-term rentals

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[Regarding, “Bust, Boom and Then: What Happens to Short-term Rentals in the Long-term?” Oct. 20, Xpress:] Well, certainly, a precedent has been in Asheville since the days of Julia Wolfe (mother of Thomas Wolfe with her Old Kentucky Home boardinghouse) because travelers and tourists of that day with only modest means could have a place to stay while visiting our city.

I’m sure those who advocate government control would cry that in today’s time, the “homestays” and STRs have exploded in number. But they are serving a demand as well as allowing a property owner to capitalize on their asset, much as Julia Wolfe did in the first third of the 20th century.

Government control or oversight is not a suitable answer to this issue, and in so advocating, one is violating the basic tenet of property ownership. I would argue not to allow government interference with a homeowner’s right to use his/her property to its highest and best use.

—Bob Ray


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11 thoughts on “Letter: Don’t allow government interference with short-term rentals

  1. Mike R.

    Hmmmm. Highest and best use? What if I, as homeowner wanted to use my house for my business…..auto repair shop? Or perhaps a tire shop? Or maybe my highest and best use might be an open air auction house on the back lawn?

  2. MMM

    Is “highest and best use” your euphemism for “I would rather make money squeezing in as many tourists who trash the city and take it for granted as I can, while making it impossibly difficult for long-term renters who actually live here to find reasonable, safe, affordable housing?”

    What a peach.

  3. Shultz!

    Highest & best use = profit for Bob, likely. The boarding house culture of yore is nothing like STRs – it was a different time with different needs.

    Rent control & more regulations on rentals are what we need to stop the hollowing out of our city.

  4. MV

    I like living in the county. Whenever my neighbor rents his house out to noisy AirBnB people who like to drink and have noisy parties into the wee hours, I get my revenge the following day with a little target shooting with me old rifle while they’re trying to sleep it off. Thinking of putting in a moto-cross trail too to welcome next year’s leaf-peepers.

  5. luther blissett

    As others have said: don’t try claiming some lofty moral justification or grand historic tradition for wanting to extract every nickel from your property. Government oversight is what keeps your neighbors from slaughtering hogs in their gardens.

  6. Bright

    The greedy excuses for landlords know no boundaries. Greed and miserliness rule them.

    • Enlightened Enigma

      yeah, that’s why my rentals seem to stay below market rents because I know how to retain good tenants … and get rid of the bad!

  7. indy499

    Our city leadership is so inept it is mindboggling. Severely restrict hotel adds in the core and then stand in wonderment that STRs are booming and the housing market for local working folks is all the worse.

  8. James

    Government interference (zoning laws) might be preventing new, affordable apartments from being built in Mr. Ray’s neighborhood. But I’m sure he is amenable to changing the zoning ordinance to allow property owners to use their property to its “highest and best use”.

  9. El Gordito Fornicito

    I completely agree! I am turning our West Asheville split level ranch house into a large scale marijuana grow. I do not think that the city or state should interfere in my ability to make a profit with my humble home. What I do on my own property is my own business!

  10. Robert McGee

    We have many complex and intersecting challenges. Property owners can grind out every penny, or they might acknowledge that they were fortunate enough to arrive here before others and pass the good fortune along. For instance, I have a rental home in Woodfin that I purchased 20 years ago. It lists for $1500 on Zillow, but I rent it to a nice young couple (teacher and electrician) for $950. I provide water and lawn care and consider this my way of giving back and not adding to/exacerbating the housing problem. I have considered AirBnB, but thus far haven’t gone that route as I believe that certain homes and neighborhoods should be for people who live and work here. I seek tenants who want to be part of the neighborhood, especially industrious humans who are contributing to the local economy or the community and/or giving back and contributing in a positive way. I would in fact sell this home to these people if they wished to purchase it.

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