Tampa Leans On ADUs To Ease Rental Crisis, But Hundreds Say They’d Use Them For Airbnbs | Tampa Bay News | Tampa
Tampa is considering easing rules for using accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and hundreds of landlords surveyed said they want to use the easing of regulations to create Airbnb rentals.
ADUs are generally smaller than one-bedroom apartments and often come in the form of mother-in-law suites, tiny houses, and garage apartments. The size of the units makes them potentially more affordable, while still providing all the important aspects of an apartment.
Last spring, a City of Tampa survey of ADUs received about 1,000 responses; 301 respondents said that if they could have an ADU on their property, they would potentially use it like Airbnb.
Hundreds of respondents also responded that they would use the properties for “owner’s income” or as a place to stay for relatives or visitors. Several respondents selected several options, including using it as a place to stay for a family member, or also using it as an Airbnb at other times.
A separate question on the most important use of ADUs received 400 responses. Only 1% of respondents said affordable housing was most important.
Tampa’s code currently allows construction of ADUs for public use in Seminole Heights and the area around Lowry Park. Elsewhere in the city, ADUs can only be created for one family member and the primary residence must be owner-occupied. Other regulations may apply depending on where a Resident resides. The full list of proposed changes to the ADU, which include the relaxation of zoning and permit rules, is available on the city’s ADU website.
There will be a virtual community discussion with the City of Tampa tonight at 6 p.m. and a workshop with the city is scheduled for October 27 at 9 a.m. at City Hall, where council, city staff and the public discuss options for ADUs.
Tampa is in the midst of a rental crisis, and the takeover of Airbnbs, in place of traditional rental leases, has helped exacerbate the crisis, experts say.
The Economic Policy Institute discovered in a 2019 study that the influx of Airbnbs hurts tenants and local economies more than they help.
“While the introduction and expansion of Airbnb in US cities and cities around the world entails significant potential economic benefits and costs, the costs to tenants and locals
jurisdictions likely outweigh benefits for travelers and owners,” EPI found.
In 2020, Forbes magazine wrote that the expansion of the Airbnb industry was driving up prices and pushing people out of their communities.
“The ‘Airbnb effect’ is to some extent remarkably similar to gentrification in that it slowly increases the value of an area at the expense of native residents, many of whom are evicted due to financial constraints,” Forbes wrote.
Tampa City Planning Director Stephen Benson told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay via an emailed statement that ADUs are part of a strategy to find new housing options.
“The city is exploring all options to increase the supply of affordable housing, and many cities are looking at ways to increase ADU availability as part of a larger housing strategy,” Benson said. “The results of this year’s survey indicated strong interest in ADUs among those who responded.”
Benson added that at next week’s workshop, the city will discuss ADUs as a housing option and how they would work for each community in Tampa.
“While ‘grandmother’s suites’ or ‘grandmother’s apartments’ aren’t right for every neighborhood, getting feedback from stakeholders across the city is critical as we evaluate proposed changes to the zoning code,” Benson said.
Councilwoman Lynn Hurtak told CL that the city should make it easier to build housing that people can access — and ADUs are a potential solution — but the situation with Airbnbs is complicated.
“There is nothing we can do to regulate Airbnbs, we are not allowed to regulate them because of State Lawbut we can monitor them for code enforcement issues,” Hurtak said.
Hurtak added that if Airbnbs’ market saturation continues, landlords will have to revert to traditional rental leases. “Once it’s built, if they try to set up an Airbnb and it doesn’t work, then what are you going to do? You’re going to rent it out,” Hurtak said.
Councilman Guido Maniscalco said ideally he would like to see the city move forward with something that addresses the issue of affordable housing.
“If you have someone who has a suite for their mother-in-law and they can rent it out for, say, $600 or $800 a month, not only does that help the landlord pay for their mortgage, maintenance, or taxes, but they’re creating an affordable situation for someone who’s unable to get an apartment because it doesn’t exist at that price,” Maniscalco told CL.
Easing restrictions for ADUs is a great idea, Councilman Luis Viera said. But as with all of these ideas, there needs to be a discussion of potential problems.
“We need to make sure that’s what it’s for, long-term housing choices for people.”
“I think that should be the subject of the workshop,” Viera said. “You sit down, you ask questions, and then you come up with the best possible solution. People need housing choices, and we need to make sure that’s what it’s for, long-term housing choices for the people.”
In the anonymous response section of the survey sent to Tampa residents, several respondents expressed concerns about how ADUs will be used in their neighborhoods.
“No AirBnbs. Concerned about traffic and parking. May not solve problem of affordable housing in open market,” one respondent wrote.
“I really don’t like the idea of ADUs like AirBnB or short term rentals,” wrote another. “I don’t want an unregulated hotel in my neighborhood.”
“I am not in favor of Airbnb or ADUs/short term rental properties in residential areas,” another respondent wrote. driveway etc.”