Webinar Summary: How to craft a fair, enforceable
short-term vacation rental ordinance

Watch the full webinar recording here

Is the conversation around short-term vacation rentals starting to heat up in your city? Understanding how short-term vacation rentals are used in your community is the first step toward adopting sensible and enforceable regulations.

Because short-term rental is such a broad category, you’ll need to get a lay of the land when starting to think about developing an ordinance. This Host Compliance webinar with renowned short-term rental experts Jeff Goodman, Ulrik Binzer and Bret Keast was designed to help local governments take the first steps toward effective regulation:

  1. Doing a quick market scan will help you gain a clear picture of the type, size and number of short term rentals in your city and where they are located. Don’t forget to also consider the broader context: What is housing availability like in your city? What lodging services already exist? These questions are important in helping you develop a policy that actually makes sense for your community.

2. Focus on the negative impacts you want to mitigate. What are the kind of behaviours you want this ordinance to rein in? You’ll find stakeholders on all sides of this issue, but if you focus the conversation on the negative effects you want to correct, everyone will agree and you’ll be able to conduct a more civilized debate.

3. There are several drafting decisions for you to consider once you understand your focus: Who can host? Does this require land use and zoning changes? What are the unit characteristics you will allow? Will there be guest requirements? How will hosts operate? Do neighbours get input on permitting?

4. Make the permitting process easy for hosts. The more difficult the process, the less likely people will follow it. Make it as user-friendly as possible, preferably an integrated workflow that allows hosts to submit the required information, documentation and make payment online.

5. An ordinance is only as good as the enforcement. You need to have processes for things like address identification, compliance monitoring, violation reporting, fines and tax collection. To keep up with market activity, weekly scans of active listings are required because it fluctuates that quickly. There are tools that allow local governments to do this.

Watch the full webinar here to get more insight into how Charleston County, South Carolina crafted its short-term rental ordinance to gain $2.6 million in annual revenue and how to apply best practices to your community.

Host Compliance also offers a free online course on how to write a short-term rental ordinance. Find The Planners Guide to Regulating the STR Industry here.