Please clarify your understanding of the difference between an STVR and a homestay?
Full disclosure, I have a homestay. Homestays have more restrictions, including the presence of the resident, no more than 2 bedrooms are allowed to be rented, and the unit cannot have its own kitchen. Short term vacation rentals are entire home/unit rentals that do not have the aforementioned restrictions. Renting an entire unit for less than 30 days is a STVR and is only allowed in resort districts. (i.e. Crowne plaza)
Are you familiar with the kitchen definition the City has been using for the past couple of years, including the restrictions on sinks, power sources and the size of the refrigerator? Please discuss.
Yes. Homestays restrictions disallow the presence of an oven, full fridge, or full-sized kitchen sink.
Would you accept a sink and a normal sized fridge in a homestay unit?
People operating homestays under the current restrictions have adapted to those restrictions. The change proposed here would appear to be a strategy to move more of our limited, desperately needed long-term rental units from the market for residents of Asheville and instead put them in the homestay tourist market. Due to our housing crisis and particularly our affordable housing crisis that is pushing families out, I could consider supporting such an option if it were part of the following: a new ordinance that allows two ADUs by right when one of them is a long-term affordable rental at 60% AMI that accepts vouchers. Support for such an ordinance could activate the energy and collective grassroots power of the Homestay Network to help achieve affordable housing goals.
In this case, a short term rental (ADU1) could create an affordable unit (ADU2) directly and create infill without overwhelm. One for one.
Any additional restrictions on homestays are you considering?
No. I think the Homestay is a powerful tool for locals to participate in the tourism economy. Last year ⅓ of all overnight stays (1 million out of 3 million) were in short term rentals (county and city). Homestay operators report that their homestays help community members afford their homes, improve financial security and create opportunity.
That said, we have to be careful not to repeat past mistakes and create exclusionary economic cycles. Right now, you have to have wealth in order to add an ADU -- wealth defined as you have to own a home and have enough equity (value against which to take a loan) in the home or cash on hand to construct an ADU. This perpetuates social and economic inequity. I think our community is ready to have the hard conversation about this.
In your view of "affordable housing" does it include people in Asheville that own their primary residences but are struggling to keep them, especially because of the increase in property taxes?
Our affordable housing crisis includes homeowners and renters. Housing should cost no more than 30% of your income. That is the widely accepted definition of Affordable Housing, which can be single family or multi-family. If you earn $100,000, you have more money to work with than a person earning $20,000.
We do have a definition of affordable housing, so we can be talking about the same thing when we say affordable housing, rather than dependent on what any one person thinks affordable housing means. That’s important to note when we are talking about policy -- we have to be transparent and consistent.
Do you believe renters should be allowed to operate Homestays as long as they have the permission of their landlord/ property owner?
They already can -- this is already allowed in the current ordinance. Is the goal of this question to discuss how to take more long-term rental units off the market for residents of Asheville and put more units out for the tourists? That would be the outcome if a renter/resident becomes the manager of formerly residential units, the “homestay manager” in this scenario. If I were considering that option, I would engage in discussion around a one-for-one arrangement in which a renter/resident of one long-term rental unit is guaranteed an income-based affordable rate for their unit in addition to living wage-level payment for services rendered as the manager of one homestay unit. This could be a way to share the benefits of the tourist economy between owners and non-owners while also ensuring the existence of affordable long-term units.
How do you plan on improving enforcement of illegal, whole house STRs in Asheville?
We need to join other cities that are collaborating with rental platforms like Airbnb to delist illegal listings and we need the Homestay Network to help. To further this cause, I would call on the Homestay Network to work with the city on policy to fine organizations that promote and list illegal rentals, which would return 150-300 units back into the long term market.
Do you believe there are any circumstances that a Homestay Host should be allowed to be away from their home while hosting guests, including a family emergency or bereavement? A 2-week family vacation? A school teacher away for the summer?
Yes. Family emergency and bereavement are great examples of unforeseen, exceptional events that are impossible to plan for.
Should Homestay Hosts be allowed to have a co-host who does not live in the home but helps out with the operation of the Homestay?
For the purposes of routines like cleaning, a homestay host should be able to hire anyone they want and give access to their property, sure. But the operation, management, and repairs of the unit get at the intention of the homestay - run by a resident of the home.
Do you think ADUs should be allowed as Homestays? Are you aware of the Portland, Oregon ADU study?
Yes, I’m familiar with the report.
Until we see significant progress creating affordable rentals, we cannot willingly remove more long term units from the market. The need is too great. I would like to see the energy and collective grassroots power of the Homestay Network activated in helping achieve affordable housing goals.
This could include working on an ordinance that allows two ADUs by right when one of them is a long-term affordable rental at 60% AMI that accepts vouchers. Support for such an ordinance could activate the energy and collective grassroots power of the Homestay Network to help achieve affordable housing goals. In this case, a short term rental (ADU1) would create an affordable unit (ADU2) directly and creates infill without overwhelm.