Allowance requested for short-term rental of home

Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 6, 2018

A man that had previously listed his house for short-term rental before being told to cease and desist by city officials has requested a variance to begin renting it again.

Matt West, owner of a home on Spradley Drive that had previously been listed on platforms such as Airbnb and Homeaway, said he had been allowing people to rent the house short-term for approximately 18 months before the city notified him that he needed a business license.

“I had no clue that I would need a business license,” West said shortly after the letter to cease and desist was sent. “This kind of caught me off guard.”

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After removing his three-bedroom home from online listings, West applied for a business license. But because the house is in a residential neighborhood, the business license could not be approved unless West first got approval from the Board of Adjustments and Troy City Council.

Homes in some residential areas are allowed upon appeal to be rented as a “tourist home” or bed and breakfast under the Troy zoning ordinance.

Tourist homes are defined in the zoning ordinance as a “single-family dwelling rented or leased for short-term accommodations for terms of no less than two nights nor more than six months. Such properties are typically single-family homes that vacationers can rent and occupy as if it were their own home for the duration of their stay. Such homes must still conform to occupancy requirements and regulations for the district in which they are located. For the purpose of these provisions, holiday cottages, holiday homes or vacation properties shall be considered a tourist home.”

Two other residential zones – reserved residential (RR) and high-residential (R3) – contain language that specifically provides for tourist homes on appeal. R3 zoning specifically outlines that a rooming, tourist or boarding home may not exceed 75 percent of the home.

Low-residential and medium-residential (R2) zoning contains no specific guideline for the permission of a tourist home.

Although the residential zone is not crafted to allow this type of business, West said he was respectful of the neighborhood when selecting whom to rent the house to.

“Unlike a normal rental or hotel, I can be fully selective on who I choose to host,” West said. “I get to go read their reviews and information about them before I make a decision. It is my home, it’s where my kids and I live; I want the house to be taken care of just like it is when I’m there. And every person that I’ve had has done that; everyone has left it just as clean as it was when they came in.”

West will bring his request before the board at its 4 p.m. meeting Thursday, September 20 in the City Council Chambers at Troy City Hall. The meeting will serve as a public hearing on the request, as well as other requests made to the board at that time.