Letter writer: Fear of short-term rentals is unfounded

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I do not own a short-term rental, but I can tell you that when I travel, 70 percent of the time I look for Airbnb rentals, not hotels. I recently vacationed in California and booked an Airbnb in Sausalito, and it was wonderful. There is no way I would book a hotel room in San Francisco or really anywhere I plan to travel for a week or so.

I believe that there is so much fear about noise and crowded streets filled with short-term renters’ cars, and it is unfounded. Anyone renting is going to be sure their property is kept up, and there are filters an owner can use to be sure they are not renting to inappropriate people.

I do support locals being able to earn income from short-term rentals. Locals helped this town grow and become what it is now. This is not the time to turn your backs on them.

— Karen Johnson

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20 thoughts on “Letter writer: Fear of short-term rentals is unfounded

  1. boatrocker

    The reason you might not rent from local hotels, is that you recognize they are overpriced and owned by outtatowners.

    Stay home, have a stay-cation, cook on your own grill if you have any- have some friends over- or hire the Latino yard guy to cook on the grill- just watch your silverware and white women!

    We Ashevillians have had enough with the ‘snap snap- more breadsticks!’ crowd . Carpetbaggers moved here to punish the South for starting a war they could not finish. Checking the Internet for ‘where to act like the new British Empire” is a bit much.

    Any so called local posters care to comment upon the ‘positive’ effect of outtatowners who own:

    music clubs
    music festivals
    chain stores
    corrupt law enforcement
    victims of Duke Power’s pollute the poors

    Just for future posts, let’s do a pre emptive Ranydian strike:
    lulz immigrants bad
    lolz all Asheville locals are on welfare
    CAPITAL LETTERS no big gub’ment unless it regulates voting rights, vagina rights or restroom rights

    • The Real World

      Geez boatrocker — I won’t assume your political views but have read many of your previous posts that were distinctly left-leaning. If that is your general bent, then how does this line up with diversity, tolerance, understanding and open-mindedness?
      “hire the Latino yard guy to cook on the grill- just watch your silverware and white women!” — Wow, that’s ugly and so wrong.

      Plus, the “carpet-baggers and outtatowners” = bad …. theme you’ve got going there.

      I’d say I’m surprised but, sadly, it is par for the course.

      • boatrocker

        I’d like to think that readers here can recognize when stereotypes, awful labels and the very language of the uh, lulz crowd (for lack of a better term) are being used to shock and get someone’s attention. If I truly believed (Trumplike comments for instance) in anti immigration, xenophobioa, arrogant American exceptionalism, etc, I think one would have figured that out a long time go from my posts. But if one wants to consider me the Howard Stern of the message boards, I guess that’s ok too.

        Did you make it past the second paragraph of my post just out of curiosity?

        Starve those jerks outta business who seek to reduce Asheville’s entire housing market into a playground for the rich.
        I think I mentioned hosting friends over for a cookout too as a way to ‘get away’ in one’s own back yard.

        By the way, read some of comments here ahem Fineline for instance and ask if he is serious or not. If he is serious, well there is the real problem.

        • The Real World

          You are asking way too much. New folks show up every day, people read quickly and don’t have the time to grasp your mental inner-workings. You could make a comment like that to friends who may understand your “unique viewpoint” but, here, it just looked bad.

          I feel sure Fineline is serious although I don’t understand his post.

        • Lulz

          LOL, your problem Sinking Ship is your IDEOLOGY is full of crap and a big failure. Immigrants sure but what you can’t comprehend is this open borders policy that just adds to the debt and cripples wages and the low and mid wage working people in the town and country. But of course delusion is grand in your mind just like it was on the Titanic when they lit all the boilers but couldn’t avoid the ice berg that caused only a small gouge but sunk that mother. You don’t rock no boat. You’re a mindless follower of insanity that somehow assumes killing the USA is a good thing.

  2. luther blissett

    “There is no way I would book a hotel room in San Francisco or really anywhere I plan to travel for a week or so.”

    Well, that’s nice. I’m sure that you don’t consider yourself the reason why rents might be increasingly unaffordable for those who actually live there and don’t already own property, because that would spoil your vacay. Never mind whether the short-term landlords have informed their home insurers that they’re offering a thinly-veiled commercial operation.

    “Locals helped this town grow and become what it is now. This is not the time to turn your backs on them.”

    That’s an interesting distinction: if you live in Asheville and rent — like half of the city’s population — or are not a property owner with space to rent out, are you not a real local? Or do only the landlords count?

  3. steve

    Yes airbnb rentals are ILLEGAL and not allowed by the City of Sausalito, I am passing this post to the person who is in charge of finding airbnb scofflaws. Yes airbnb has decimated the rental market in Sausalito. BTW great hotels here!

    • OnMyOwn

      Thank you, Steve! Rentals for less than 30 days is illegal in Sausalito. The floating home community in the north end of town is in Unincorporated Marin, so their laws may be different. For Sausalito, it is illegal, but I doubt AirBnB actually cares, despite their claiming to follow the laws.

  4. Andrew

    No effect? Tell that to me and my fellow musicians who lost our rented studio space because an AirBnB host didn’t want musicians anywhere NEAR their STR. Yet those AirBnB guests have probably come to our town partly because of the music scene. STRs benefit a very SMALL portion of people, while raising rents due to decreasing supply on EVERYBODY.

    • boatrocker

      Excellent point- kudos.

      To bill Asheville as some sort of musical Mecca while at the same time relegating actual local musicians to a second class existence in terms of being able to rent a space to them is so, well, Asheville.
      It’s like something Daisy would say in “The Great Gatsby”.

      “We tourists want to hear live music everywhere we go for free because a we are too good to pay a cover charge, but we really don’t care that the same local musicians are being exploited and don’t have anywhere to practice in order to sound good enough to entertain us and draw us here in the first place.’- does that about cover it?

      Asheville’s true colors are revealed with Fineline’s comment, by the way. I’ve actually met people like that and the unapologetic Mammonite attitude is what has tanked this town in terms of housing.
      Thanks, Charlotte. We are now your vassal state. We kneel at your feet.

      • Lulz

        LOL, but Sinking Ship it’s your fellow democrats that own this town. They’re the establishment and people like you are solidly in charge yet you’re mad. LOL, why? Surely it can’t be because the bigger the government, the more inept and incompetent people are in it, the more cronyism and corruption, the more bribes, the more giveaways, the more handouts, the bigger the failure occurs in the end lulz. Problem is Sinking Ship that these rich democrats here that vote for all this garbage don’t do it for selfless reasons. They do it for SELFISH one’s and it can vary from making bank to feeling better about themselves. And in the end it just makes things miserable for everyone else who isn’t in their club lulz.

    • The Real World

      Yes, this is a tricky issue and does need to be studied. Here are my 2 bits:
      1) I love Airbnb and have 3 places booked for 2 upcoming trips. I enjoy the uniqueness of each place, meeting the hosts, the price and the quietness over hotels. I might be inclined to NOT visit a city if they didn’t allow it. It would likely depend on some other factors.

      2) It’s tricky b/c Andrew is not necessarily wrong. I have a semi-finished, daylight basement that could be turned into a furnished one bedroom apt. If Airbnb becomes legal here, I likely will do that. Because I’d make more money, enjoy swapping stories with travelers and would have the flexibility of no bookings or reserving it for friends/family versus being locked into a full-time tenant. It would definitely produce new traffic to the neighborhood but I have a longish driveway and would make sure nothing crazy goes on. So, possibly this would remove a potential apt from the local renter pool. Perhaps not, b/c maybe I’d never finish it out if I couldn’t do Airbnb. Hhmm, that would be a good survey question for the city to pose.

      The reality is: why should the city hang the shortage of available rentals on residents? They should provide incentives to developers to create more. And, STR’s don’t benefit just a small portion of people b/c they also benefit the travelers — big time! Seems to me the biggest issue is how to handle and limit the disruption to neighborhoods. We should have STR’s, we just need to figure out how to do it right. There are many, many other cities that we can learn from.

      • luther blissett

        The basic point here: the AirBnB model pretends that a commercial transaction is “helping someone out with somewhere to stay, and getting some money”. As for your own experience, let’s assume for sake of argument that you’re a straight white dude: turns out that many “hosts” are not quite so willing to approve requests from minorities.

        If you’re offering a true vacation rental, then basic public accommodation rules have to apply: you don’t get to turn down paying guests because they’re a minority and you think minorities are inherently sketchy, or they’re gay and you don’t want them gaysexing in your basement; you have to go some way towards accommodating people with disabilities; you have broader obligations in terms of keeping things up to code than simply being a homeowner-resident. You also need to tell your home insurer than you’re running a commercial operation in your property. You really think that the bulk of AirBnB “hosts” — whether it’s room or whole-property rentals — are doing that stuff now? (The terminology that AirBnB uses — and which you unconsciously mirror — is a deliberate smokescreen here.)

        “STR’s don’t benefit just a small portion of people b/c they also benefit the travelers — big time”

        That’s a non sequitur: the travelers are also a small portion of people. But hey, Asheville’s development priorities — both from the top down and the bottom up — are already tilted towards existing property owners and tourists, so why not tilt them some more?

        • The Real World

          Luther – it just doesn’t make sense to converse with you about this. You’ve totally decided to be against it and no facts or reasoning are going to register. I haven’t even read that you’ve stayed at an Airbnb. So, you’re also operating from a lack of understanding the experience and a fuller picture of it.

          All of that is just plain irrational. Not my thing.

          • luther blissett

            “I haven’t even read that you’ve stayed at an Airbnb. ”

            Actually, I have, a few years ago, in Portland, OR — the full-size version of Asheville — before it became clear a) how AirBnB distorts local housing markets at the expense of residents who rent; b) how much money AirBnB has spent lobbying state and city governments to re-write short-term rental law to suit them and their illegal landlords. Privatize the profits, socialize the costs.

            It was a very pleasant experience that I won’t do again because I’m now aware of the externalities. So are you now going to call me a hypocrite?

            You’re right about one thing: it doesn’t make sense talking to you, because nothing’s going to get in the way of your own selfish, blinkered satisfaction.

  5. Yep

    though I fully support AirBnB and their presence here I wonder this…renting a space by the month to a good paying tenant is MUCH
    easier than having to clean and restock a STR every couple days … unless your STR is booked most nights of the month, longer term tenants are more valuable and way easier.

    • The Real World

      Yes, it’s true what you say and that is another option for a landlord to consider.

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