Madison City leaders considering regulations on Airbnb’s

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MADISON, Ala. - The City of Madison is discussing how they want to tackle the growth of Airbnb's.

There are less than 20 Airbnb's in Madison and there isn't any regulation.  The city says some Home Owners Associations have already started to raise concerns.

"We've been getting periodic input from residents and HOAs who are concerned about the effects of these rental properties," said an employee during the work session.

It's an issue with pros and cons. There's the opportunity for tax revenue, more options for out-of-town visitors. But how do neighbors feel about a house where people come and go, from a one-night stay to months on end?

The legal history is for house-sharing services short and vague at best. Hoa's have tried to claim Airbnb's are a business.

"The courts seem to be saying if you are renting a property and making money off of it, that's not a true business. Because whoever is staying there is doing residential things," said a city representative.

There's no shortage of Airbnb horror stories either. Last week in California, 5 people were shot and killed at a party where the house was rented via Airbnb.

"Airbnb came out and said we are banning party houses. So that's good, what's a party house?" said someone during the session.

Other city workers are concerned about inspections and how regulations could cost the city long-term.

"We don't have the staff to do that. We have a stop sign ordinance. But the chief doesn't have the people to sit at every stop sign to make sure they are not running," said one man.

Cities across Alabama have their own way of zoning Airbnb properties. Several cities across the country require the owner to actually live on the property. Meaning Airbnb's have rooms/spaces for rent and not the entire house.

In Tuscaloosa, the city zoned areas near the University of Alabama for the use of Airbnb's. In Guntersville, they don't really have zoning limits because the whole area is a vacation-type town.

Huntsville does not have any zoning related rules outside of owners needing to live on site. One concern raised was how would the city monitor that? Who would make those checks?

The City of Madison is expected to form a task force to decide what they will do next.

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