State law could limit the control of cities like Asheville over short-term rentals. Bill 829 has been passed by the House and will eventually be in the hands of the Senate.
Asheville City attorney Brad Branham has said he is preparing for what he considers the worst-case scenario.
“This potentially has the effect of greatly limiting, if not totally excluding, the ability of local government to regulate any type of short-term rental,” Branham said. “And places like Asheville and Wilmington, with a large number of tourists, that could really have a devastating effect on the city.”
“Short-term rental regulation should really be handled at the local level rather than the state level. One size doesn’t work as well when you have so many different cities and counties dealing with completely different issues.” , said Branham.
Bob Michel, of Asheville Homestay Network, said he had tried to work with the city to roll back some of its restrictions. He disagrees with Asheville’s ban on host family kitchens and the mandate that landlords be on the premises while a tenant is on their property.
“What we are seeing with this bill that was launched in Raleigh is really the same thing we are seeing all over the country. Anytime a city starts to go really too far with its rules, litigation and legislation are the result, ”said Michel.
Melanie Curlee, who rents an apartment at her house, fears the bill will lead to relaxed regulations that will be bad for Asheville.
“I just don’t think it’s a good idea, just rent an entire house willy-nilly and whoever comes along, there’s just no control,” Curlee said.
The full impact of the bill on short-term housing in the mountains is still uncertain. Nonetheless, the city attorney is concerned about the potential fallout.
“I think, from Asheville’s point of view, we need to be overly careful and worried, just because of the potential ramifications this could have for our community, if the worst-case scenario were true,” Branham said.