The city’s last registered bed-and-breakfast will shut its doors, and its owners are blaming new competition from a less-regulated Internet service.
The Oakwood Inn Bed & Breakfast will see its last guest on June 1, according to owner Doris Jurkiewicz. Business has plummeted since local homeowners began renting out rooms on the Airbnb service, she said.
“We’ve been really, very severely impacted for about two years now,” said Jurkiewicz.
There are at least nine people renting rooms or homes through Airbnb within blocks of The Oakwood Inn, which sits in the historic Oakwood neighborhood The Internet service often lists more than 150 rentals throughout Raleigh.
Almost all of the new competition is cheaper than The Oakwood Inn, which charges between $129 and $179 for a night in a richly decorated home built in 1871, plus breakfast.
By comparison, an Airbnb user within blocks rents out a “granny flat” apartment for $123 nightly. A two-bedroom house on East Franklin Street goes for $126. A single room on Polk Street is $59, with dinner.
“We’ve got a lot of competition, but they don’t have to play by the same rules,” Jurkiewicz said.
She argues that a lack of regulation allows homeowners on Airbnb to undercut her prices. She and her husband, Gary, had to file for a city special-use permit, ensure the building meets specific design standards and pay taxes on their rental income. They live on the premises.
Their registration as a business also drives up money borrowing costs, she said.
Jurkiewicz has lobbied the Raleigh City Council to enforce some restrictions on Airbnb users. City staffers agree that the Internet rentals are subject to the same rules as The Oakwood Inn. Airbnb’s name is short for Air Bed and Breakfast.
The city has cited only one Airbnb user for renting a room, and even that action is frozen as the council works out a plan to potentially legalize the service here.
Business at The Oakwood Inn first declined in 2013, Jurkiewicz said. While the couple previously had 50 percent occupancy in a typical January, that figure dropped to 13 percent last year and 22 percent this year, she said.
The last comparable bed-and-breakfast in Raleigh, the Cameron Park Inn, closed last year as its owners retired.
Gary and Doris Jurkiewicz tried to sell their business last year, but revenues were too low to justify the price they wanted.
They have run the inn since 2001, and the building has been a bed-and-breakfast since 1984. The business will close 31 years after the day it opened.