Short-Term Rental Permit: The Final Chapter?

Meet Sam, the Wilmington porch kitty. And also I somehow have yet another update on the short-term rental permit.

If you’ve been following the saga of the Wilmington short-term rental permit, I’ve got one more update for you.

Out of the blue, I got a check in the mail to refund the cost of the original permit application, plus the processing fee, plus interest. As is the style of the City of Wilmington, there was obviously no letter to accompany the check. So I guess their entire permitting process has been tossed out.

You might think I would be relieved, but the fact is, I jumped through all the hoops to get a permit, including paying a Licensed Surveyor to measure the distance between my property and the next nearest short-term rental property. Having obnoxious regulations limiting the number of permits issued was a tool the City of Wilmington used to prevent excessive tourism and minimize the city’s housing problems. At this point there is no regulation, leaving a big hole for creative new solutions that I’ll then have to try to respond to. Perhaps they’ll pass a bylaw that authorizes members of the public to sue anyone hosting out-of-town guests.

More normal things that other cities use are simply requiring a business license, using zoning rules (which is what Wilmington was doing), requiring special permits (also part of what Wilmington was doing), requiring occupancy taxes, or requiring inspections to ensure properties meet certain building and housing standards.

If you’re curious about the regulations where you live, just search the Airbnb Help Center for “Responsible hosting in your city.”