Asheville residents are planning to sue city over amended zoning rules regarding short-term rentals. Rebecca Robertson, Wann Near and Christal Weatherly claim that amendments to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance that Asheville City Council approved earlier this year harm them financially. They make their claims in a lawsuit prepared by Ward & Smith law firm in Asheville. Attorney Derek Allen is working the case.
The three, who have been using property they own as short-term rental property, say they have been issued citations by the city for violating the city’s short-term rental rules, rules that residents claim the city has looked the other way on for decades. A few relevant pages:
The grounds for their lawsuit may be vague, but the city has their head up their arse on this issue. It’s not going away and banning it will not solve the problems they say it will. Rather, they should allow ALL citizens to benefit from the tourism economy rather than the elite hoteliers.
Apparently you don’t live next door to a perpetual short-term rental (party) house. Don’t suggest that I call the police each and every time the new short-term tenants raise a ruckus because in a couple days a new group will arrive. Oh, and the owners live in another state and could care less what I think because they’re pocketing $350/night.
Actually I do, and everyone that I’ve ever met is wonderful, all of their money was spent on local businesses, and the owner lives here in town. See, there alone is an easy round-about… require property owners to reside in Buncombe county.
I live adjacent to three properties that have been used as short term rentals for the past three years and have never had an issue with partying or parking. We live walking distance from downtown.
I know this is just a case-study, but these places all charge much less than $350 a night so I would think that would make them more prone to have parties.
Please be a good and loyal subject. Your government knows how your property should be used.
Folks, first of all it’s not illegal. Illegal leads people to believe that there’s a crime being committed. It’s against the UDO which is a zoning ordinance. Certain people in the city have worked well to convince residents that people with short-term rentals are basically criminals. As the owner of a short-term rental in the neighborhood in which I currently live, I can tell you the two short-term rentals in my neighborhood actually add value to the neighborhood and bring very nice visitors to my street. My neighborhood has been filled with long-term rentals for about 20 years now. The renters of the short-term rental homes actually walk the neighborhood, wave when they walk by and seem to enjoy being here more than the long term renters ever have. The short-term rental homes tend to be better kept, and the people that rent them out must keep them up to get good reviews on Airbnb and VRBO. Many of the fears that have been spread by opponents are red herrings. There been recent surveys of guests of these homes that indicate many of these visitors would not come back if they had to stay in hotels. They tend to put more money directly into the economy, local independent businesses, and they tend to stay longer. So think about what you’re doing, Vince, when you think you’re being a good citizen by turning in your neighbors.
It is a complex situation for sure, and it is unfortunate the City was so irresponsible by not working with folks to find a compromise. They never invited folks to the table to work out a compromise. They feared a worse case scenario that none of us know if it would have happened or not. Think back not too long ago when they prohibited City chickens. Look at food trucks. Several folks already had them b/c laws were on the books but not enforced. After more folks saw the opportunity & invested in them, the City shut them down. They were scared food trucks would take over the City & all kinds of fear rhetoric took place. The restaurant owners cried out that it wasn’t a level playing field & we need to outlaw them or regulate them to death (kinda of like hoteliers here). Eventually after an outcry, the City sat down with them & made rules that worked for the masses. Instead of that being a lesson learned, they did the opposite here & if this lawsuit wins (like the others in the State have done) the City will lose many powers to regulate wisely like they should have done in the beginning.
1. I totally agree with Vince.
2. Obey the law and you won’t be penalized, regardless of what other people are doing.
3. I am sincerely sorry to hear about the owner’s sister’s battle with cancer and commend them for helping…however, if they end up being allowed to continue having a short term rental, won’t that open the possibility of other people wanting to use excuses as well? Who’s to say what’s fair when it comes to someone’s “why”?
4. Long term rentals (ranging from 30 days to 1 year) are in GREAT demand, ask any realtor in town, especially close to downtown. Extending from short term to long term will still create income.
That’s really their argument?
“Sure, it’s been against the law, but you never enforced it before, and so now you’ve decided to enforce it, that’s unfair to us?”
It’s like they’re arguing that the City deliberately entrapped them into becoming dependent on their illegal income.
If I had one of these houses & I was dependent on renting it out for a living, I might be pissed that I can’t anymore – but really, to sue over that?
Yep. That’s their argument. See page two of Jason’s clip – paragraph 17. 18. 19. They claim because the city had previously given a “wink and a nod” and “tacitly allow”ed short term rentals that many Asheville property owners relied on this allowance and purchased and retrofitted homes to be short term rentals. Seriously.
So let me get this straight, you buy a fast car and race it on a public road every day because you know the police don’t actively enforce the speed limit there. Due to public complaints the city eventually starts enforcing the existing law and raises the fine for violations. You get caught speeding and decide to sue the city for damages. Wow. Just wow.
For inquiring minds, since it’s publicly available on the web:
52 SPEARS AVE
VRBO Listing #728509
That puts more pressure on affordable housing. If they relax the rules, that would encourage property owners to pursue short term versus long term rentals. That would lead to even more pressure on housing. We need homes for residents, not tourists.