Columbia City Council Considering Airbnb Restrictions

City Councilor Howard Duvall says short-term rentals often cause disruption for neighbors.

COLUMBIA, SC – Short-term rentals in Columbia neighborhoods may soon be banned.

An ordinance is being drafted by members of Columbia City Council to impose restrictions on rentals, like Airbnbs.

The ordinance aims to eliminate short-term rentals in residential areas if the property is not owner-occupied. In other words, it would prevent people from buying homes just to rent them out on Airbnb or other booking platforms.

“To me, an unoccupied residence that is rented for less than 30 days is a hotel, and it has to be in a commercial area,” City Councilor Howard Duvall told News19.

Duvall said short-term rentals often cause disruption for neighbors.

“It has a negative impact on the neighborhood,” he said. “These people come for a day or two for an event and they party. They have loud music. They have a crowd gathered in the middle of a residential neighborhood,” Duvall said.

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Duvall added that he was working with local neighborhoods like Elmwood Park on this issue, but the neighborhood association was unable to provide a statement at this time.

Graeme Moore, owner of real estate business The Moore Company and host of Airbnb, thinks “that’s a ridiculous proposition.”

Moore owns a single-family home in Colombia that he rents on Airbnb. He said he was usually booked 15 days a month and never had a problem with the holidays.

“Short-term rentals have become a part of life and travel,” Moore told News19. “Millions and millions of people obviously appreciate and expect it when they come to a city. And for the city of Columbia not to have that as an offer overall is absolutely insane.”

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The ordinance would not affect vacant rentals in commercial areas or owner-occupied homes in residential areas.

“If it’s an owner-occupied house, they can rent a room, garage, or accessory building,” Duvall explained.

However, Moore believes the ordinance, if passed, would remove most Airbnbs in Colombia and negatively impact the city.

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“It will affect our quality of life in Columbia. It will affect our image with people who want to visit our city,” said Moore.

The ordinance will be presented at a city council meeting in July. Once this happens, the Council will provide opportunities for public input before starting the voting process.

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