C.O.B. Set to Scrutinize Local Airbnb Rentals

C.O.B. Set to Scrutinize
Local Airbnb Rentals

After writing up ordinances for sidewalk cafes and chickens, it appears the City of Beacon will now take a hard look at residents who post on Airbnb, an internet platform that allows people to list a room or a whole house for short term rental. Although popularly labeled as part of the “sharing economy,” since boarders pay a fee, it’s more like a way to monetize space that you’re not using—while also making a small band of nice young people in San Francisco obscenely rich.

An informal early polling of several council members would suggest the range of opinion on what to do runs from taking a laissez-faire approach to coming up with a restrictive list of requirements and permits. Because the guests are strangers and money is exchanged, those more in favor of legislating may be arguing that this kind of rental technically falls under regulations governing hotel and bed and breakfast operations. (In some cases, as in the article found in the previous link, those regulations are lobbied for by the hotel industry.) Those proposing a more hands-off approach may see the benefit of allowing people on a budget who might not otherwise stay in town overnight a chance to get a deeper taste of Beacon. In this economy, it’s also a way for those experiencing financial stress to help meet the bills.

Unconfirmed reports are that the situation came to a head after one resident, whose home apparently contains a number of extra bedrooms but no driveway, began renting out rooms to two or three different parties at a time, and neighbors alerted the city when strange cars began parking in front of their houses. After shutting down the operation, the City did a bit of online sleuthing and discovered seven or eight other residents listing on the Airbnd website. A number of issues are involved in this situation. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Sign up for the Wigwam RSS feed and stay up to date.

7 Responses to C.O.B. Set to Scrutinize
Local Airbnb Rentals

  1. TC says:

    That’s fair. Nonetheless your comment that there is an issue of unfair competition at play caught my attention. If that’s the case, who is complaining that city council should be focusing on this? The way I read it, city council was alerted to the activity through a parking issue and I felt that the issue should begin and end there. If the local B&B and hotel proprietors want the COB to regulate airbnb renters, let’s hear from them.

  2. ironfish says:

    You need to reread the post. It’s not about whether I think they should look into it or not. I’m just reporting that the city council will be looking at the issue.

  3. TC says:

    The argument I misunderstood was that airbnb is cutting in to the local B & B and hotels business, so you think the COB council should look in to regulating the practice of short-term rentals.
    It’s also an easy argument to make that long-term rentals are more annoying to adjacent home owners. They have to endure the bad behavior of people who have no equity in their property and flaunt their temporary ownership year over year through constant disruptive behavior.

  4. ironfish says:

    Parking and noise are not the issue, nor are they in most cases breaking any laws. Bu they are possible scenarios that might happen when offering a home for short term rental. This might piss off the neighbors enough to try to get some regulation in place regarding short term rental (say less than 1 month).

    However, as I said above, I think this will be secondary to the question of how it might affect the business of bed and breakfasts and hotels.

  5. TC says:

    Yes, in the same way a long-term renter can be a nuisance to those who may own homes next door. Trust me, I know.
    If the problem is parking or noise then that’s the beginning and end of the source of the issue. Airbnb or THE INTERNET hardly has anything to do with it. If I call and threaten someone on the phone, do we have a phone regulation issue?

  6. ironfish says:

    I don’t know that illegal parking was the problem. As far as I know, someone can drive from Montana and leave her car parked on any residential street in Beacon day in and day out without breaking any laws.

    You are right that the internet makes it possible–or at least a lot easier and cheaper. Theoretically you could post a small classified in a free weekly down in the city and advertise a space.

    I believe the main issue will be whether this is considered unfair competition with the local hospitality businesses–b and bs, hotels, rooming houses–that adhere to the regulatory processes in place. To a lesser extent will be the issues of being a good neighbor–if a short term renter (aka airbnb customer) is noisy or parks three cars on the block it could be an annoyance.

  7. TC says:

    Wait until they hear about Uber.
    The issue was illegal parking, not airbnb. But I guess every old problem is new again when it’s done ON THE INTERNET!

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