Fayetteville to consider two changes to short-term rental rules


UPDATE: These changes were approved at the Jan. 18 City Council meeting.

FAYETTEVILLE — People who rent homes in the city through sites like Airbnb and VRBO have until Feb. 21 to take advantage of a grace period to come into compliance.

In the meantime, the City Council will consider two proposed changes to the new rules.

The first change would allow short-term rentals in nonresidential zoning districts that don’t already permit hotels or motels.

Development Services Director Jonathan Curth told the City Council on Tuesday that there are some non-conforming homes in either commercial or industrial districts that are occupied as homes, and some of their owners would like to be able to rent them out.

Those homes were inadvertently left out of the original ordinance, Curth said.

The second change would remove a density cap on short-term rentals operating in multifamily buildings. Right now, only one unit or 10% of all units in a multifamily building can be used as a Type 2 short-term rental, whichever is greater.

Short-term rentals are categorized as either Type 1 or Type 2.

Type 1 rentals are homes that the owners live in, but sometimes rent out rooms or the entire house to guests when they’re out of town. Accessory dwelling units also count as Type 1 properties. Type 2 rentals are rented all year, and have no owners living in them.

Curth said the proposal is to remove the density cap for buildings that have separately owned units like in a condominium association or similar ownership arrangement, as long as the building has adequate fire protection.

“This is to allow owners to rent their units, but also to look out for the transient renters who may not be familiar with the structure,” he said.

Curth said a representative of a local short-term rental association has advocated for a further broadening of the rules to allow short-term rentals in more buildings, including apartment complexes that might not meet current fire protection standards, like fire-resistant walls and sprinkler systems.

Curth said city staff aren’t comfortable with such a relaxed approach.

“If you start increasing the proportion of individuals in a building who aren’t familiar with the building, such as where the stairs and fire extinguishers are, you are increasing the chances of someone being injured or killed,” Curth said.

The council will discuss the proposed changes at the next regular meeting on Jan. 18.