Current State of Short-Term Rentals

There was a big discussion today in a meeting about the current state of short-term rentals in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, rental housing now accounts for more than a third of the nations’s housing market. This represents a significant shift from homeownership toward rental occupancies in the past decade, due in part to economic necessity brought about by the foreclosure crisis and recession, and a heightened sensitivity to perceived risks of homeownership.

Now more than ever short term rentals are on the forefront of creating a business model that has the potential of welcome income to those who might just need it most. People rent out rooms to visitors who might decide to attend a relatives college graduation, or sometimes folks rent out a whole house for a family reunion or a tourist might require a kitchen because of heath concerns and cooking their own food makes traveling easier for them. Whatever the reason, this demand for short term housing has created a major shift on how tourism dollars are spent in local markets.

One one side you have the Hoteliers. “We support the rights of people to engage in home-sharing, but commercial activity on short-term rental websites needs to be subject to a legal and level playing field, expressed Craig Kalkut, Vice President of Government Affairs for the American Hotel Lodging Association who clearly has an interest at this growing industry.

This is in contrast to Matt Kiessling, Director of Coalitions and Grassroots of Travel Tech of the Travel Technology Association. “Short-term rentals are a residential use, as we have seen play out in courts around the country. Therefore to refer to home-sharing as a commercial activity is to assert a false claim with no legal basis, not to mention that the mere suggestion undermines the widely recognized rights of homeowners.”

Real property ownership in the U.S. is commonly understood to come with a bundle of rights- three core ones being the right to live in it, to rent it, and to sell it. Proposed rental regulations are now trying to help by creating a framework where where states can draft a new acceptable model.

The road will be a long one and our job as REALTORS® is to be an advocate for property rights and pay attention to any form of proposed residential regulation. Adriann E. Murawski said it best. This is a hot topic and our members need to be educated about this issue. There are some good models for short term rentals, but we have no official position. It depends on what the local members want. Each market is different.

Here they are agreeing to disagree. It is a welcome sight to see them smiling which I fear doesn’t happen very often when they’re in the same room together. To the left is Craig Kalkut of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. To the right is Matt Kiessling of Travel Tech, the Travel Technology Association.


Marianne Guenther Bornhoft

Marianne Bornhoft is a Director for the National Association of REALTORS®, a Director for the Washington Association of REALTORS®, and the Washington Association of REALTORS® Social Media Chair. Marianne was the 2013 President of the Spokane Association of REALTORS®. Marianne has been a REALTOR® since 1995 and works for Windermere/Manito LLC. Marianne won the 2014 REALTOR® of the Year Award from the Spokane Association of REALTORS®, and The Catalyst’s Top Women in Business Mover and Shaker Award. In 2012, she received the Spokane Association’s REALTOR® Achievement Award. She was also awarded the Spokane Association’s 2009 Excellence in Professionalism Award. In 2008, Marianne was voted the #2 REALTOR® in Spokane in the Inlander’s “Best Of” readers poll issue. In 2007, she received The Catalyst’s yearly award for Top 20 Under 40 Rising Stars in Business. Marianne won Rookie of the Year in 1995.

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