On Thursday night - if a commission meeting is still slated, since the weather could be a factor - the Fayette County Board of Commissioners will be discussing how they expect to deal with an increasing national trend of residents offering transient/vacation lodging through short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods.
There are no regulations in the county’s current ordinance structure that addresses the problem and staffers have received complaints in one such case involving noise, traffic, and large passenger vehicles. According to code enforcement officer Kathy Hobbs, given the businesses moving to Fayette County, short-term rentals could become more commonplace.
Already there are places advertised using internet sources like, Homeaway.com, Discoverourtown.com, VRBO.com, and Flipkey.com. The sites show listings like: “Sleeps 26 - $600 Per night; $400 weekly – sleeps six; nightly, weekly or monthly.”
Others indicate a base rate of $85, $200 or $600, with prices ranging from $500 a week to $1500 a month.
Hobbs, in a memo to commissioners, says the practice has the potential for increasing calls to the sheriff’s office for domestic and noise calls; increases the wear and tear on infrastructures as large vehicles travel the roadways, and could possibly cause septic issues with the overload. There are also traffic safety issues and other opportunities for crime with strangers in the various neighborhoods, Hobbs noted.
Hobbs also suggested the possibility that property values could decrease and wondered if these sorts of arrangements would be considered commercial operations being run in a residential neighborhood.
Hobbs suggested the commission consider things such as Specific Occupation regulations; requiring registrations or permits which would require an application process and having the owner verified by background checks. He also suggested potentially charging fees, and giving the county the ability to audit books.