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home : opinions : opinions January 16, 2019

12/4/2018 1:38:00 PM
Take another look at room rental
By Christine Funk

Last night I went to the City Council meeting to express my concern over point No. 6 of the new short-term rental regulations and also about the distinction between a STR that is "an entire house rental without the primary resident present" and a STR that is "a room or a series of rooms in a house where the primary resident lives concurrently."

To me there is a big difference if you are going to apply the clustering solution of separation by 250 feet.

I live in a neighborhood where several of my neighbors rent rooms or portion of their houses out to AirBnB clients, and since those current permits are going to be "grandfathered in" and not subject to the new regulations, as well as transferrable if the house is sold, potentially I will never be able to rent a room on AirBnB where I live. Again, I am not talking about a house that is vacant unless there is a VRBO occupant.

Moving into the future as housing costs/property taxes increase, the addition of people renting rooms or part of their houses out for nights and weekends is becoming more needed for some income levels and a desire for extra income for others. Think of an older person on a fixed income and they had it in their mind that they were going to rent a room and now they are unable to. Think about some parents that have kids going to college and their plan was to rent out the room to help with college tuition. There are many scenarios that would be helped by not lumping room rentals with house rentals.

I feel the City is not separating out the difference that is very important. This criteria hinders a person's ability to earn this extra income if they want because the house 250 feet away from them had applied earlier and it now has the potential of blocking the homeowner for years or even decades from attaining their goal. There are no limits set for others to prosper from this extra income and I don't believe it is a fair regulation for these types of STRs.

I asked the Council to reconsider just No. 6 and to look at being able to separate out room rentals and house rentals. AirBnB does it on their website, I believe that the City could also do this when giving out the permits and apply the 250 feet for full house rentals and not rooms. See how that goes for a year and then decide if room rental clusters are an issue.

I hope the Council will think about these points as I feel that this part of the regulation of not distinguishing between types of STRs needs extra consideration. Also, I believe the 250-foot rule was a last-minute addition and this was the first I had heard of it via The Nugget.

Not only does this apply to homeowners in residential neighborhoods, it also applies to any residential homes that are designated commercial.

If you own a home and someday want to rent a room on AirBNB or part of your house while you are still living there - 250 feet is close and it might be very difficult to get a permit as time moves forward. Home ownership for the middle- to low-income families gets harder and harder to come by without creative thinking. Write a letter or email to your Council members if you have thoughts on the 250-foot rule applying across the board of STRs and if there needs to be more thought on the types of STRs.

Thanks for listening.

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2018
Article comment by: Ben Ehrenstrom

Another example of government control. Those in power picking winners and losers. Private property rights taken away. It’s no longer about “Land of the Free”.

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