Fayetteville Considering Short-Term Rental Regulations

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — With the popularity of rental websites like Airbnb and VBRO, one Northwest Arkansas city is looking to regulate these types of short term rentals.

The city of Fayetteville says there are between 500 and 600 short-term rentals that are in residential parts of the city.

Technically, this isn't allowed. So now the city is gathering information from citizens to write code to make short-term rentals legal in residential areas.

"Initially, our neighbors are wonderful, they told us they did it and it could be good action fund, so we kind of tried it out and from there it flourished immediately," said Airbnb renter Erika Rayburn.

Rayburn and her family have been renting out properties on Airbnb for three years and began by just renting their home. Now, their company Stay NWA just signed its 30th rental property.

"We’ve seen business traffic, U of A travelers, sporting events, filming festivals all staying with us," Rayburn said.

Rayburn thinks the city having an ordinance for rental properties like theirs would be a positive thing. She says they would be happy to pay a registration fee or get a business license.

She says they have to introduce themselves to everyone living around their rental properties, so if something were to happen they know who to contact.

"I think it’s really great for those neighbors that will have a place to call, to contact," Rayburn said. "We don’t want it to turn into parties, especially us as owners, we want that shutdown immediately and we want to know. So, I think it will really help minimize the issues that can happen with rentals."

City Planning Director Andrew Garner says they have already had many residents give their opinions on the issue. He says they can fill the hotel gaps.

One resident told Garner that short term rentals can help revitalize neighborhoods.

"If you’re renting out a house on a nightly basis, most of those owners that are doing it, to market it they need to fix them up, make them look nice, keep the yard mowed because you’ll get reviewed online positive or negative about your house and neighboring properties," Garner said.

No decisions have been made and the city is going to continue to get input from residents before presenting it to the city council in several weeks.

Fayetteville residents can voice their opinions about short-term rentals on the city's website.

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