Nags Head trying to figure out Airbnb
NAGS HEAD, N.C. — A house that once served as a dance hall may not seem like an obvious vacation destination.
But Jeremy Grogg, CEO of Kees Vacations, said he has rented out the home through Airbnb for three years.
“We’ve had great success with it,” he said.
As short term rental sites become more popular, the industry could be facing more regulations here soon.
The Town of Nags Head is surveying residents to figure out if and whether to regulate them. Among the questions:
How would you feel about having short-term rentals in your neighborhood?
Do you believe that short-term rentals have any impact on the personal security of Nags Head residents?
Where do you believe shortterm rentals are most appropriate?
What level of regulation do you feel is necessary for short-term rentals in Nags Head?
“What we’re looking at is how to better define how we want to regulate these uses,” said Andy Garman, Nags Head deputy town manager and planning director.
Nags Head thrives as a vacation destination, and much of its tax base depends on weeklong rentals at large beach homes. They operate all over town in residential and commercial areas. Airbnb and other short-term stay services are not included in the ordinance, but fall under the same guidelines as a bed and breakfast, which must operate in a commercial district, Garman said. That could change, he said.
“We have not fleshed out details on this at all,” he said.
More than 500 have responded to the Nags Head survey. Following a recommendation from the planning board next month, the town could consider new rules early next year.
Cities across the country are trying to regulate short-term stays. Norfolk plans to require homeowners who list properties on Airbnb to register, get a business license and pay a tax next year. Virginia Beach passed similar rules two years ago, but is still debating whether to impose stricter regulations, such as requiring records on renters and limiting how many can stay in one unit. Some cities have such strict rules, it nearly eliminates the practice.
The town of Duck looked into regulating “home stays,” but decided against it since most of the rentals are weekly, said Joe Heard, director of community development.
Short-term stay services fill a niche in the market, Grogg said. Kees Vacations offers a variety of packages ranging from four to eight days or beginning in the middle of the week.
Airbnb has an agreement with North Carolina to extract occupancy taxes in every county, Grogg said. It has no such deal with Virginia, he said.
On the site, guests and owners can rate each other — and a bad review could affect the chances of landing another rental or finding more people to book space.
Over-regulation could harm an enterprise that accommodates a shorter, cheaper stay for a couple instead of a week in a large beach house for a dozen people or more.
“I’m all for private property rights,” said Lori Brooks, president of the Outer Banks Association of Realtors’ board of directors. “Homeowners should be allowed to do what they want.”
Permits would inform town officials about the existence of rentals for safety’s sake, said Aaron Jennings, manager of Shooters at the Beach, a photography shop in Nags Head. Otherwise, he has no problems with short-term rentals, he said.
A beach home — nicknamed “Rosebud” — sits about a block from the ocean and within walking distance of shops.
Sue Goodrich, the owner, said she would consider renting out her house on Airbnb one day. “I would love it,” she said. Goodrich is surrounded by conventional rental properties, and the Airbnb website lists several homes in her area. It doesn’t bother her.
“I love this neighborhood,” she said. “It’s quiet.” Jeff Hampton, 252-491-5272, jeff.hamp[email protected]lotonline.com