8 cities are battling Airbnb with regulations for short-term rentals

  • The pandemic has sparked an Airbnbs boom as buyers see vacation rentals as a smart investment.
  • Residents and officials in popular towns say Airbnbs drive up home prices and annoy neighbors.
  • New Orleans, Chattanooga and six other cities are trying to stop Airbnbs from taking over.

People have flocked to Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms during the pandemic, trying to maximize their returns by renting homes to growing numbers of vacationers, travel nurses and remote workers.

For many, it pays off. Airbnb reported that the average U.S. host income rose to over $13,800 in 2021 — an 85% increase since 2019.

But the number of landlords and property managers cashing in has left some of their neighbors frustrated.

Residents say the growing presence of short-term rentals in their neighborhoods can lead to a range of problems, from trivial annoyances (they host loud parties) to significant challenges (they make it harder for ordinary people to buy homes ).

On the Gulf Coast of Florida, the problem is coming to a head. Caitlyn Marriott — who lives in Venice, Florida, a town about 20 miles south of Sarasota — has had enough. She told Insider she was leaving the Sunshine State because of the headaches short-term rentals have caused in her area.

“Once Airbnb became a thing, it became common for homes sold here to be bought by investors, whether large corporations or just moms and parents looking to buy a vacation home” , she said.

The increase in short-term rentals in Southwest Florida predates the pandemic. In a 2019 Sarasota Magazine article, “Is Airbnb ruining our neighborhoods?”author Cooper Levey-Baker noted that 100,000 guests stayed at Airbnbs in Sarasota County in 2018, up from 67,000 in 2017. That number is undoubtedly higher now.

According to Visit Sarasotathe total number of visitors increased from 2,796,580 in 2019 to 3,008,900 in 2021.

The lack of housing available for rent or purchase is a problem across the country. Realtor.com reported total active sales in February were down 26% year over year.

And in cities like Sarasota, as Marriott observed, investors are vying with mainstream buyers to nab the few available homes.

According to Realtors in Floridaactive listings in Sarasota fell 54.7% from December 2020 to 2021, from 1,253 to 568. Meanwhile, Sarasota has the highest Airbnb occupancy rate in the United States, at 82% – 39 % more than Los Angeles, according to DPGOa pricing tool for Airbnb hosts.

The locals are fed up and are starting to take action. On April 24, protesters in Sarasota took part in a March for our futureprotesting against housing inequality and a host of recent abortion, education and immigration laws spent in Florida.

Here are eight cities where residents and local politicians are fighting against short-term rentals.

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