Residents who want to rent out their homes legally have waited a while for city leaders to craft regulations to allow the practice.
But, after months of review by elected officials and residents, city staff members say, proposed rules are on track to return to the City Council for consideration in May.
Committee members in charge of drafting the regulations are scheduled to review a proposal on April 19 that they expect to draw approval from council members, said Eric Braun, a resident who chairs the text change committee. City staff is still working on the official language of the regulations, so a formal proposal isn’t available.
But Braun says the forthcoming proposal would allow residents to rent only one room of their house, in contrast to previous proposals that would’ve allowed residents to rent three rooms or more under certain conditions.
If you have someone operating what amounts to a boutique hotel, that’s not the intent of short-term rentals.
Eric Braun, chairman of text change committee
“If you have someone operating what amounts to a boutique hotel, that’s not the intent of short-term rentals,” he said.
Residents are currently prohibited from renting out rooms through services like Airbnb or VRBO – short for “Air bed and breakfast” and “Vacation Rentals By Owner.” Some downtown residents and business leaders have said legalizing rental services like Airbnb is key to Raleigh’s economic development prospects, as it’s appealing to young professionals.
The City Council could review the committee’s recommendation as early as May 3 if the Planning Commission wraps up its review by April 26, said Eric Hodge, an assistant planning administrator.
The text change committee and Planning Commission have already gone through this process once, proposing regulations that the City Council rejected in November.
The committee last fall proposed regulations that would have allowed residents to rent out three rooms or more, or the entire property, as long as they acquired a special-use permit through the city’s Board of Adjustment. But council members said they worried that the coming and going of too many renters would increase traffic and potentially harm the character of neighborhoods.
Limiting residents to one rental room should alleviate the council’s concerns about additional traffic and a need for more parking, Braun said. Under his group’s latest idea, Braun said rental hosts would only need to inform city staff approval – and wouldn’t need a special-use permit – to begin renting out a room.
And, unlike previous proposals, the latest would not restrict residential rentals to certain areas of town, Hodge wrote in an email.
“We’re looking at going in a direction that would penalize the ‘bad apples,’ were there to be any, if they become a nuisance to the neighbors by creating an effective system whereby a permit could be revoked,” Hodge said.