As the Carrboro Board of Aldermen looks to improve the enforcement of special-use permit operations, some members of the board want to remove the permit requirement for occupied homes that run operations through Airbnb.
Airbnb is a short-term rental company that allows homeowners to rent out single rooms or entire houses or apartments directly to travelers.
The board is monitoring the service to determine how the short-term rental company affects the housing market.
According to Airbnb’s website, there are dozens of listings in Carrboro.
Airbnb has faced criticism in Asheville, where some blame the company for driving up rental prices and crowding out affordable housing.
The Carrboro planning staff, however, has not reported any such complaints regarding Airbnbs in town.
The Carrboro Board of Aldermen discussed the issue at its Sept. 8 meeting. The board looked to Asheville’s policy, which levies a $500-per-night fine on homeowners operating Airbnb outfits without the proper permit, board member Damon Seils said.
According to Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney, the issue with Airbnb was that it was not collecting hotel taxes, but on Aug. 15, Airbnb did start collecting the taxes.
Now, Chaney said the issue is whether the short-term rentals through Airbnb will positively or negatively affect the housing and hotel market in Carrboro.
“We don’t want to erode our housing market,” she said.
Chaney said she would like to see owner-occupied Airbnb homes no longer have to get a special-use permit. She also wants to maintain the special-use permits for homes that are rented out through the service but not owner-occupied.
Seils also said one of the concerns with short-term rentals is that they can decrease the supply of affordable housing.
He said board members are afraid of investors who would purchase properties solely for short-term renting purposes.
Carrboro resident and Airbnb host Giles Blunden did not think this was a valid concern for the town of Carrboro.
“Carrboro is not a big tourist destination like Asheville, which does have a problem,” Blunden said. “Airbnb is a great innovation. It would be regressive of Carrboro not to allow it.”