5. Crafting Your Arguments
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.
Remember, when it comes to the value of short-term rentals, the facts are on your side.
So how do we go about putting together some of the more compelling facts that show local policymakers the value of formalizing and legalizing short-tem rentals in your community?
Let’s start with some basic arguments about economics and tax revenue. And while the figures we’re putting together here aren’t exact, they provide a very solid approximation for local policymakers. First you’ll need to assess how many short-term rentals there are in your area. Look at the listing on popular short-term rental sites like Airbnb.com, HomeAway, VRBO, and Flipkey. Then you’ll need to get an idea of exactly how many nights per year on average, those properties are occupied. This is where the group you’ve formed can really be helpful. By working together, you can usually arrive at a fairly solid figured for average nights of occupancy. You can also use that same conversation to determine the average number of visitors you and your fellow short-term rental owners, operators, and hosts are seeing with each stay. Then you’ll want to visit the website for your state or local Convention and Visitors Bureau. A quick search at either one should yield the average daily spend of a visitor to the area. Now you’re ready to starting plugging numbers into the calculator below.
Estimating the local economic impact
Total local economic impact of short-term rentals: $
Another issue that often becomes part of the short-term rental conversation when cities and municipalities consider new regulations is the impact of short-term rentals on the overall housing stock of a community. One of the most affective ways to dispel the idea that short-term rentals are negatively impacting the housing stock of a community is to simply illustrate just how small the portion of available residential housing, short-term rentals make up in your community. The calculator below requires you to once again take the estimated number of short-term rentals in your community, and then pull some quick basic facts from the U.S. Census Bureau.
By clicking on the “Quick Facts” map on the homepage, you will land on a search page and can enter any city or town in the United States in order to obtain some simple facts about the local housing stock. Once you search a city or state, scroll down until you find the section entitled: “Housing” and then look for the total housing units in your community.
Estimating Local Housing Impact
Percentage of local housing units that are short-term rentals: %
Now that we’ve covered the numbers, let’s talk about some other supporting ideas for short-term rentals in your community.
- What are some reasons why guests have chosen to stay in your short-term rental?
- What are the benefits to the guests?
- Besides income, what do you personal benefits do you derive from short-term renting?
- What sorts of people have you met and what have been your experiences with them?
- Do you use short-term rentals when you travel? Why?
No matter what you do to support your argument for fair and reasonable short-term rental regulation, remember the following:
- Stay positive and offer solutions, not criticism
- Use a combination of facts and stories to support you arguments
- Always be respectful and constructive in your conversations with policymakers