To the editor:
Short-term rentals have become the boogieman for all the problems in the Mount Washington Valley: affordable housing, soaring rental prices, and party houses. All of which are real problems, but there are solutions to these problems, and banning vacation rentals isn’t it.
Yes, banning vacation rentals will lower property values by limiting the number of second-home owners who can afford to buy. But it will not increase the number of available homes. House prices will just drop (including yours) till they reach levels where people can afford them without the additional income from vacation rentals.
It won’t solve the shortage of rental properties, because these second homes were bought to be used as second homes! Your son or daughter is not going to rent a chalet in Linderhof or Eidelweiss, then move out every time the owners want to come up to ski or hike.
Late night fireworks and loud music have always been a problem. Yes, even before Airbnb. But, when you read the valley police logs, it isn’t a very common problem. Also, the logs show that one call is usually enough to shut it down. I actually heard a resident say they don’t call the cops because by the time they get there it’s over. Really? Ten minutes of noise is ruining your life? Call the police! Call the homeowner! (Their number is on the rental website.) By calling, you will not only solve the problem, but have a record to confront the property owner with, in the future.
Ninety-nine point nine percent of vacation rental owners love this valley and take great care of their properties. They pay their property taxes and the 9 percent rooms tax, but don’t put kids in our schools or use social services. Every dollar they bring into the general fund with the rooms tax is one less you need to pay in property tax. Every family that stays in a vacation home means more dinners at local restaurants, more ski passes sold, and more goods bought.
So, if you want to address affordable housing and soaring rental prices, do something about it. Join the MWV Housing Coalition and change the restrictive zoning to build more workforce housing. To address noise complaints or disorderly conduct, use the existing system. Call the police and punish the people, not the property.
Broker / Owner
Black Bear Realty