Why Short-Term Rental Advocacy Matters

The popularity of short-term rentals as a travel accommodation has grown enormously in the last few years. With that growth policymakers across the country have struggled to address some of the challenges that short-term can present to local communities. Unfortunately, many of them are working without much background or information, and in many cases, a great deal of misinformation. As a short-term rental owner, operator, or host, you have subject matter expertise that is valuable to local policymakers. As local policymakers address short-term rental rules and regulations, it is essential that you and your fellow owners, operators, and hosts become a part of that conversation.

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Why Short-Term Rental Advocacy Matters

Advocate for Fair and Reasonable Short-Term Rental Regulations: A Simple Guide


As short-term rentals grow in popularity, providers of short-term rentals need to be at the center of any conversation about regulation. The goal of this guide is provide you, as an owner, operator, or host with a simple guide that helps walk you through the process of advocating for smart short-term rental regulations with local policymakers. Working with your fellow providers and other local stakeholders, you can build an effective organization and advocate for fair and reasonable regulations in your community.
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In order to address short-term rental regulations in your community, it’s important to first understand what the current regulations look like, local sentiment, and the ways local policymakers are looking at and talking about the issue.

The easiest way to assess the local landscape with regard to short-term rental regulation is to answer some simple questions about the issue: Is there an existing ordinance that addresses short-term rentals, and what does it say? Are your local policymakers discussing or considering short-term rental regulation, and in what stage of the process is any new regulation?

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Short-term rentals provide tangible benefits to providers, residents, travelers, businesses, and the local community. As such, it is important to ensure that communities develop smart regulations for governing short-term rentals that establish safeguards for both providers and travelers, alleviate neighborhood concerns, and offer a framework that promotes compliance.

By definition, a short-term rental is a property that is rented for less that 30 consecutive days. And while the ability to locate short-term rentals online has made them more accessible and affordable…

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Once you know the status of local short-term rental regulations and have had a chance to gather the facts about the industry and the need for smart regulations, the time has come to start organizing your fellow stakeholders.

At the outset, it will be easy to engage fellow owners, operators, and hosts who are interested in supporting an effort aimed at fair and reasonable regulations for short-term rentals. Initially, you should look to recruit as many providers as possible, knowing that there will be some natural attrition over time. Once you’ve assembled a core group of providers you should begin to think about adding additional allies and stakeholders for your effort.

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Critical to becoming an effective advocate for any issue or cause is developing an online presence. There are many ways to go about building a home online, some STR groups utilize Google or Facebook pages to organize stakeholders, files and relevant conversations but many coalitions across the nation have found great value in constructing a basic website. This approach is ideal because, not only is it legitimizing in and of itself, but also it can serve as a much more accessible, centralized space for a wider range of interested parties.

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Once you’ve assembled a group of stakeholders and built your online presence, you’ll need to start thinking about how you want to present you supporting arguments and documentation. Often those who oppose short-term rentals will be fueled by emotion and their approach is for the most part, and anecdotal one.

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Local officials need to hear from people like you: the short-term rental operators, renters and supporters in their communities. Personal outreach puts a name and a face on the issue and reiterates that this is an important issue that directly impacts their constituents and neighbors.

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Messaging is everywhere, from the coffee shop tip jar to highway billboards, from the stories featured on the front page and the evening news to our social media feeds. But not every message format is created equally: a bus advertisement is unlikely to be taken as seriously as a well-worded editorial, a single tweet less effective than a cross-platform social media push. Now that you’ve brought together short-term rental owners/hosts and other stakeholders, carefully crafted your arguments and made strategic connections with policymakers its time to turn up the volume and be heard.

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As the saying goes: “Success is never final, failure is never fatal.” If you have successfully advocated for short-term rentals in your community and seen positive policy enacted, congratulations! You have shown what a little passion and hard work can accomplish. But, don’t be lulled into a false sense of completion. The fight continues as proponents of dangerous short-term rental policies will continue to seek new ways of attacking the short-term rental economy.

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