Fayetteville exploring rules for legalizing short-term rentals like Airbnb, VRBO and others


Fayetteville officials want residents’ help in drafting rules concerning short-term rental of homes through services like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.

A public meeting is scheduled from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30 in room 326 at City Hall, 113 W. Mountain Street.

The meeting will use a SWOT Analysis approach, asking attendees about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of short-term rentals and regulation. There will be a general discussion at the end of the meeting.

City Council members in July adopted a resolution directing city staff to study and develop a set of rules for short-term rentals.

City planners estimate there are nearly 600 homes being used as short-term housing for visitors in Fayetteville. Most of the properties are rented through Airbnb, which has an agreement with the city to collect Fayetteville’s 2% HMR (hotel, motel and restaurant) sales tax.

But it’s not all about the money.

Most short-term rentals are in violation of city code since they are operating as a hotel or motel, but they are located in residential neighborhoods and not in one of the city’s commercial or mixed-used zoning districts.

City staff said many short-term rentals operate seamlessly without any problems, but there are a few bad actors.

Reducing noise, parking, traffic and trash problems in neighborhoods is one thing staff hopes to accomplish through regulation, but there are other goals of the initiative.

Staff said a short-term rental ordinance would also ensure a level playing field between traditional homes, illegal short-term rentals and hotels. It could also help eliminate party houses and ensure building safety for renters.

Council Member Kyle Smith said in July he was excited to support the study. He said short-term rentals affect housing affordability, and he hopes the city considers using revenue generated from the program to put toward fighting homelessness.

Council Member Sarah Marsh said she knows of some affordable homes that have been taken off the market because they’re now being used as short-term rentals. But on the other hand, she said, renting out those homes has provided some financial stability for the property owners, and improves tourism opportunities in Fayetteville. She said all of those factors need to be considered when drafting regulations.