Nomadness Rentals in Mammoth Lakes recently issued a noteworthy press release outlining the struggles hundreds of professional vacation rental management companies have been experiencing as a result of Airbnb’s reckless push into the regulatory environment in cities and destinations around the world.
Vacation rental management companies have been working hand-in-hand with municipalities for decades to grow destination awareness, remit lodging taxes, comply with safety standards, and implement good-neighbor policies.
However, Airbnb, in its rush to legalize its home-sharing platform, has upended the regulatory environment for traditional second home vacation rentals. Consequently, this year alone, Austin and Denver city councils voted to phase in a ban for second home vacation rentals while upholding the right of primary residents to rent rooms in their homes.
And they are not alone.
The precedent being set by these city officials will take years to reverse, and Airbnb is entirely at fault for pushing the agenda of primary residents renting rooms in their homes over second-home owners renting professionally managed, licensed, tax-paying, safety-compliant whole homes.
Editor’s Note: As founder and editor of VRM Intel, I argue that Airbnb is doing so at the detriment of their own long term sustainability. I also argue that professionally managed second home rentals do not have a negative impact on affordable housing. However, denying the ability for second home owners to rent their homes as vacation rentals does have an overall negative impact on the real estate market and on tax revenues from property taxes, lodging taxes, and sales taxes from businesses and employees related to a tourism economy.
Below is the press release, in full, from Nomadness Rentals. Vacation rental managers who are facing battles with Airbnb in the marketplace might consider crafting a similar announcement in their local and state media to create awareness about the issue and differentiate professionally managed vacation rentals from unregulated room sharing.
The Truth Behind Airbnb and Other Vacation Rental Giants
Massive companies like Airbnb are trying to evade rental requirements put in place by local towns like Mammoth, while local companies like Nomadness Rentals advocate for renter rights.
LOS ANGELES – June 10, 2016 – As vacation rental giants like Airbnb continue to grow in size, they begin to wreak havoc on local rental companies that have dedicated a lifetime’s worth of hard work to being honest, loyal, and cooperative with the towns and areas they represent. Airbnb’s latest controversial move involves using scare tactics to trick small towns like Mammoth Lakes into allowing them to bypass town ordinances, regulations, and guidelines in order to conduct business.
Local, long-time companies like Nomadness Rentals must mandatorily abide by all town ordinances, and for good reason. These ordinances are present to ensure the security and well-being of guests and local residents, ensuring that all vacation rentals are properly equipped, meet all safety regulations, and are up to renting standards.
In May, Airbnb approached – and was subsequently denied by – the town of Mammoth Lakes with a proposition to offer short-term rentals in the area without meeting ordinance requirements such as paying TBIDs (Mammoth Lakes Tourism Business Improvement District fees), conducting inspections, or providing documentation in case an audit is required. For those unfamiliar with TBIDs, these are small fees that fund marketing and promotion efforts for local businesses. The element of waiving inspection requirements is self-explanatory – without Airbnb conducting inspections and reporting to the town, guests don’t receive the assurance they need that their rental is up to par.
Additionally, Airbnb’s format of being homeowner-operated means guests may not receive all the services they’d otherwise get with a rental management company like Nomadness Rentals. Where Nomadness Rentals offers 24-hour emergency line services, licensed/insured housekeepers, pre-approved repairmen, and professional/experienced customer service representatives, Airbnb offers a user-generated contract that does not pre-approve the services promised by those homeowners.
Mammoth Lakes refused the requests made by Airbnb and is working to further spread the word as these attempts by Airbnb are being made in many other small tourism-oriented towns also. This begs the question: If Airbnb is making underhanded requests to small towns and cities, what might they be doing with the millions of renter/homeowner accounts on their platform? Nomadness Rentals and similar vacation rental companies offer complete transparency, doing their best to ensure all their units and guest experiences are up to par.
This latest development is just one peg in the ongoing controversy surrounding Airbnb, who take away from the hard work of hotel owners, small-scale lodging providers, and local property management companies – all of which dedicate themselves to every aspect of quality assurance, from repairs and cleaning to customer satisfaction. These things are not a guarantee with the rental giants that tend to abandon their users once the booking process is complete, leaving them wondering what to do when they arrive to their rental.
In a letter from the Mammoth Lakes Town Council, it is stated that “this document [from Airbnb] would have other agencies lining up at our door to get the same sort of ‘waiver'”. If more and more unfamiliar companies began asking for waivers on town taxes, requirements, etc. – what would happen to the quality of vacation rentals in Mammoth Lakes? This is a pressing question that we ask our renters to ask themselves before choosing rental companies like Airbnb for their next vacation. When it comes to quality and professionalism, we ask our guests to consider certified and upright vacation rental companies like Nomadness Rentals for their next trip instead of settling for their more large-scale, unregulated counterparts.
Well said, Nomadness Rentals…Well said.
By Amy Hinote