I am a responsible landlord who owns and manages a short-term rental in the city of Asheville. Until recently, I thought I was legally providing guests with affordable lodging while they visited (and spent money) in our beautiful town. My rental is in a friendly, cooperative neighborhood of folks who, on occasion, invite my rental guests to holiday dinners, share vegetables from their gardens and engage in easy conversation with them from the front porch.
I pay my taxes, keep my property in pristine condition, and over a seven-year period, have only had one phone call from a neighbor about noise that was immediately resolved. My housekeeper and I are both retired, live primarily on what we receive from Social Security and depend on the short-term rental income. I’m quite sure that other city residents like ourselves can only afford to live in Asheville with this needed income.
I know that the members of Asheville City Council have heard from hundreds of people about their take on the pros and cons of this hotly debated issue. It seems that legalization and good regulation is a much more reasonable approach to the situation than hiring a person to seek us out and impose hefty fines.
I am sharing below an unedited, unsolicited letter that I received from a repeat guest of my short-term rental. I believe that she represents the thousands of tourists who visit and support our local businesses:
“I read about the City Council meeting online and I was devastated by the outcome. Words cannot express how sorry I am for you and the other multitude of vacation rental homeowners who have provided families like us an alternative lodging arrangement that has filled our vacation needs to the absolute fullest. I am equally sorry for us, too. The allure of Asheville has just died for us as a pivotal part of visiting stemmed from the home-away-from-home feel that was offered through the meticulous attention to detail you provided with your cabin. It was all part of the experience. It conveyed the town’s welcoming, hospitable character. Most hotels lack the charm and personal attention that rental property owners can provide. I am just livid right now.”
So, my hope is that we can elect some City Council members who bring a common-sense, thoughtful approach to legalization and smart regulation of short-term rentals in residentially zoned areas, not just downtown and commercially zoned area of the city.
Editor’s note: Xpress normally does not withhold letter writers’ names. In this case, we made an exception because the writer fears the loss of a major part of his or her income, and Xpress wants to allow for a full range of discussion on this important public issue.