The Airbnbs are over for Collierville at the end of September

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Search the Memphis area for a unique vacation spot, and Airbnb guests have a choice: an apartment on iconic Beale Street, a ‘little mansion’ on the outskirts of Germantown, or a lakefront home in Lakeland.

But customers who hope to enjoy the peaceful surroundings of Collierville are out of luck.

The suburb has banned short-term rentals, and a September 1 letter to the city’s Airbnb operators informed them their businesses were not legal.

“We tried to give them enough time to calm down and fulfill their commitments,” said James Lewellen, city administrator.

They have until the end of September to stop and abstain.

What is an Airbnb?

The concept behind Airbnb Is simple.

Homeowners rent space in their home or the entire home to visitors who find them through an online operator, or a similar service such as The service is chargeable for putting the operator in touch with the customer.

Customers avoid hotels, have the opportunity to experience family time and experience a city in a different way. Homeowners make money and meet new people.

Earlier this summer, operators asked the mayor’s and aldermen’s council to work with them on a solution that would allay concerns about community safety and compromised property values.

The aldermen were empathetic, but still saw the potential for problems and then voted unanimously on the ban on short-term rentals. officials declined to be interviewed for this story.

“I just think the city is losing out.”

Thus, operators finalize reservations, even if some ads are still on Airbnb. website.

“I really thought they were going to listen to us. I didn’t want to do something I shouldn’t do. So I wanted to talk to them,” said Sheila Thomas, who lives in a bungalow on West Poplar a few blocks from Town Square. .

She had been renting out the guesthouse behind her house as an Airbnb for just a few months.

She was making an average of $ 1,500, but once her commitments with Airbnb travelers are made, a tenant will pay $ 800 per month for the same space. It is a substantial drop in income.

“And I really enjoyed meeting people,” Thomas said.

Terri Denison and her husband, Mitch, have been renting a room in their house for several years. A family then bought a house in Collierville, she said.

She will miss the money – about $ 1,000 a month – and the opportunity to meet new people.

Additionally, Collierville took advantage of guests who shopped at stores and ate at local restaurants.

“We are investing money in our community,” Denison said. “It’s sad. I just think the city is losing out.”

Denison says her neighbors have supported her business.

Next door neighbor Stephanie Stevens spoke on her behalf at a board meeting in June.

“At first I was hesitant, but we’re very good friends and she was very open,” Stevens said.

Stevens said she has met most if not all of Denisons’ Airbnb guests and has stayed at Airbnbs herself.

The mother of three says she never felt unsafe because of Denison’s affairs.

“It’s the random car sitting in the street and I have no idea why it’s there, it concerns me more than the people in their driveway,” she said.

Potential for problems

Although this ordinance specifically prohibits short-term rentals, operating a business in a residential area was already illegal, Alderman John Stamps said.

He would have liked to consider alternatives for Airbnb hosts.

“But it was just a challenge. Me being in real estate, I understand that property values ​​are very important to owners,” Stamps said. “And what someone feels when buying a house next to a bed-and-break can be a challenge.”

The guest rooms are regulated. Airbnbs are not.

If the Collierville operators want to continue, they should find a way to work with the city.

“We can’t figure it out for people, but we would be open if we were presented with an idea that made sense,” Stamps said. “The folks at Airbnb should get together and start researching what people are doing across the country.”

The Denisons’ neighbors may not have any issues with their business, but Karen Garvin believes in worst-case scenarios and that a lot could go wrong if short-term rentals are allowed in the neighborhoods.

If a landlord rented the whole house, it would be like living next to a rental house, Garvin said.

“That’s why we have restrictions on acts. That’s why we have zoning,” said Garvin, who moved to town a few months ago.

Sharing the home would not only impact property values, but could potentially bring an endless chain of strangers with questionable control into a neighborhood and would be like ‘opening Pandora’s Box’

“And once you allow it, it’s twice as hard to retract it and reset the standard,” Garvin said.

In Germantown, short-term rentals of less than 30 days are also prohibited, although there are Germantown listings on the Airbnb site.

These websites are being monitored by the city and landowners notified by the city of the ban, said Joe Nunes, head of neighborhood services.

Time change

In Memphis, Airnbnb agreed to collect a 3.5% room occupancy tax and a tourism improvement district assessment of $ 2 per room per night.

Denison says she would have been willing to work within similar limits to Collierville.

At first, Stevens said, she worried about the safety of Denisons operating an Airbnb.

Stevens now thinks it’s an alternative that may be safer and cleaner than staying in a hotel.

And, she says, it’s all part of a changing world.

“Times are changing,” Stevens said.

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