This is in response to the letter in the July 15 issue [of Xpress] from “Asheville resident” titled “Proposed Fines for Short-term Rentals Are Overzealous.”
First, I am disappointed that you would make an exception to your rule of always printing letter writers’ names because it would expose someone who is breaking the law.
Second, it does seem that this person and his/her group has been painstakingly fighting for their rights as homeowners and have been doing what they can to get their way in a legitimate fashion. But there still remains the big picture: Residential zoning is there for a reason. People who have chosen to live in quiet, residential subdivisions within the city limits do not want to suddenly find that they are living next door to a mini-hotel.
The excuse that these “poor” homeowners can no longer afford to stay in their homes sounds very strange to me. When did they buy these homes? Weren’t they prequalified by their lenders to assure them that they could afford it? Taxes have not gone up that much (in some cases they have even gone down in recent years), so why all of a sudden is renting out a house or room in a house so necessary?
Why? Because they can make good money without accounting to anyone for the payment of hotel tax, permits, licensing, safety inspections, etc. Good for them, but unfair to the hotel owners and bed-and-breakfast owners who must do all these things and run legitimate businesses.
Later this summer we will probably hear that renting a room in one’s house will be OK with City Council as they submit to the whining. But those who own investment houses and are renting them on a nightly basis will still be breaking the law and subject to fining. Perhaps that will force them into returning these homes to the locals’ yearly rental market, giving the folks who live and work here a chance to rent a home.
— Sandra Brooks