Cities weigh regulating Airbnbs, short-term rentals; some ban them, some ignore



Dayton hired company to monitor rentals, Centerville and Oakwood have bans, Xenia made it easier

Some Dayton-area cities are looking into regulating, or have regulated, short-term rental properties from companies including Airbnb or VRBO, after complaints from residents prompted lawmakers to address the issue. However, some Airbnb owners oppose potential changes, saying the city has an interest in promoting hotels being built downtown.

Dayton-area cities have a variety of approaches. Some, including Fairborn and Miamisburg, have no regulations at all, citing a lack of problems with short-term rental properties, or not enough Airbnbs in the city to justify the cost or effort of legislation. Others have a permitting process, and may charge hotel or motel tax, while some have passed moratoriums or bans on short-term rentals entirely.

In December, the city of Dayton approved a $16,000 contract with LTAS Technologies Inc., doing business as Hamari, to identify and monitor short-term rentals in the city. Dayton officials say there could be hundreds of short-term rentals in the city, and they want to know how often units are being rented and how well they are performing.

“Through this contract, the city will be able to identify these properties (and) evaluate concentrations and property conditions,” said Todd Kinskey, Dayton’s director of planning, neighborhoods and development.

However, Airbnb owners have pushed back against potential changes or regulations.

Janet Michaelis, a Dayton resident who is the Cincinnati-area Airbnb host community leader, said she thinks Dayton wants to regulate short-term rentals and charge them fees.

LTAS Technologies markets itself as a revenue generator for municipalities, she said.

“The traveling public, when given the choice in a free market, is increasingly choosing not to stay in traditional hotels or motels,” Michaelis said, adding that travelers are instead opting for lodging that is often less expensive and provides richer experiences in residential neighborhoods.

But the city and other local groups want people to stay in the multiple hotels that are under development downtown, she said, and alternative lodging options like Airbnb are competition.

Dayton currently does not regulate short-term rentals any differently than standard residential properties, but some residents have raised concerns, said Tony Kroeger, Dayton’s division manager of planning and land use.

Some concerns are about an overconcentration of short-term rentals, people throwing parties, parking, and general civility of some renters, Kroeger said.

However, Michaelis says, the city does not seem interested in scrutinizing those properties to determine if they have problems with noise, parties and violence, though there are far more traditional rental units than short-term ones.

Ian Stamm, who owns and operates an Airbnb in Dayton, says all his guests so far have been extremely polite and considerate, leaving the house as clean as they found it. Stamm’s Airbnb typically caters to families and business professionals staying 1-3 months.

“As a traveler and Airbnb user, I definitely enjoy staying in short-term rentals over hotels for the greater connection to the local (area),” he said.

A spokesperson for Airbnb said the company welcomes a chance to work with the city on fair regulations that both “address local concerns and preserve the benefits short-term rentals provide to residents in Dayton.”

Airbnb has been a source of financial support, while providing guests a more comfortable space than a hotel, said Reed Campbell, who owns and operates an Airbnb in Dayton.

“Airbnb has provided us a way to work for ourselves, and have more quality family time as a family of six,” Campbell said. “Restrictions on short-term rentals would only hurt the families living in the Dayton area who use it as a means of support.”

Regulations in other area cities

The village of Yellow Springs chose to regulate short-term rentals, or “transient guest dwellings,” after it was discovered that starter homes in the village were being bought up by non-residents and outside actors, said village Zoning Administrator Denise Swinger.

“Homes were being purchased solely for this business enterprise,” she said. “As a result, we were not getting long-term renters or owners to live in these units and become part of our community.”

Yellow Springs has changed its zoning laws over the years to now require Airbnb owners to live on the property at least half of the year, and cannot have one short-term rental within 500 feet of another, excluding hotels and motels. Yellow Springs also requires a zoning permit and collects a lodging tax.

“This helps to ensure a neighborhood will not turn into a block of short-term rental units,” Swinger said.

“Recent studies have indicated demand for hotel rooms and other short-term stays that exceeds current supply,” Forschner said. “As with many locations, we see this type of lodging as a complementary part of the mix of lodging options available in Xenia.”

To run an Airbnb, the city requires a zoning permit and for owners to maintain basic standards, such as parking accommodations and number of rooms. This both protects the safety and quality of life of surrounding neighborhoods, Forschner said, while “promoting investment in neighborhoods and promoting tourism,” he added.

Moratoriums and bans

Three local cities have either temporarily or permanently banned short-term rentals entirely.

Centerville passed a 12-month moratorium on short-term rental properties in November, saying that while most operations are “a convenient and economical option for families traveling … these commercial uses can become ‘party houses’ or attract criminal behavior,” according to city documents.

West Carrollton extended their moratorium on rental properties last year, citing a need to research the “long-term impact” of the properties on the city, and a spate of complaints of overflowing parking, traffic, and noise.

West Carrollton is “meeting with industry representatives to listen to and consider input in the issue,” city spokesperson Cheryl Dillin said.

The city of Oakwood banned short-term rentals outright in 2019, prohibiting owners from renting property to someone for less than 25 days. The legislation has no effect on rentals longer than 25 days, whether it’s registered as an Airbnb or a traditional rental agreement, the Dayton Daily News reported at the time. The move was met with mixed reception from residents.

Cities on the fence

Many cities and communities are still researching what, if any, regulations to put in place, including Dayton, Kettering, Troy, Beavercreek, and Miami Twp. Several put that process on hold last year, after a proposed Ohio House bill would have prohibited cities from banning short-term rentals.

House Bill 563 also would have prevented cities from regulating them in any way that would restrict the “number, duration, or frequency” of stays at a property. However, the legislation died in committee at the end of last year.

At a February city work session, Beavercreek Planning & Development Director Randy Burkett told council members the city had received five complaints regarding local Airbnbs, mostly consisting of noise and traffic problems, as well as complaints that the Airbnbs existed in the neighborhood in the first place.

The city of Kettering has also received a handful of complaints, mostly about constantly changing vehicles and people in neighborhoods, as well as homes that have been traditionally owner-occupied changing to short-term rentals, city Planner Ryan Homsi said. Kettering plans to have a policy in place later this year.