The Wild West days of short-term rental owners battling with local authorities might be subsiding, according to a new study from Rent Responsibly.
The alternative accommodation community and education platform interviewed a range of municipal authorities in the U.S., homeowners and property management companies to understand the dynamics between the industry and regulators.
On the negative aspects of the relationship, regulators found they often needed help with enforcing compliance over some short-term rental problems, such as licences and permits, management of "nuisance" issues and engaging with owners that hadn't identified themselves to the authorities.
But, broadly, there is a general eagerness to work with the sector and establish understanding around taxation, zoning of housing areas and regulatory procedures.
Regulators also understand the need to be "business-friendly" and recognize that alternative accommodation can bring about economic benefits to a region or specific destination.
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Rent Responsibly says: "With a better understanding of the challenges that both cities and operators face as identified through this research and the opportunities for collaboration between the two, communities can design and create informed solutions that improve the experiences of all stakeholders including city personnel, STR operators and the broader community."
The research found the market is largely individual owners and small businesses, with 70% owning just a single property and just over half (54%) managing 10 properties or fewer.
Owners rely on renting to account for about 38% of their income, the research found, while owners who also do the same for others say they rely on renting to account for 56% of their personal revenue.
Perhaps speaking to the emergence of the digital nomad trend and longer stays, around four in 10 owners rented their properties for stays between 30 days and five months.
Dr. Brumby McLeod, associate professor and chair of the Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management in the School of Business at the College of Charleston, which worked on the study, says: "For the first time, we’re able to see that there is actually a great correlation between STR operators and their local governments, and where there may still be gaps, they are few and easy to bridge."
Philip Kennard, co-founder and CEO of Futurestay, adds: "We'll continue to see growth in the industry fueled by the emergence of more owners realizing the opportunity to build a life-changing business starts at home. It's critical that we continue to empower these entrepreneurs to succeed and that the local government works in collaboration with its citizens who are actively investing in their community."
* The full report is available here.