After unanimously passing an ordinance aimed at shoe-horning out-of-compliance short term vacation rentals into compliance, dissension regarding an annual renewal clause has sparked fierce debate within Wimberley TX’s vacation rental community. While solutions exist to insure the vacation rental properties, such as Proper Insurance (click here to get a quote) council members share concern over medium and long term implantation of regulation:
Council member Erik Wollam summarizes the debate:
“I find it very odd that we have two groups in this community that volunteer a tremendous amount of time that are joined at the hip, but have come out, as I understand it, with completely diametrically opposed opinions on this issue of annual renewal…”
The disagreement is of interest as it threatens to set two unique precedents in the region. Firstly, the proposed ordinance has commissioners concerned the city lacks the infrastructure to support an annual renewal process, as no other permit the city currently issues carries similar renewal requirements. Wimberley Planning and Zoning Commissioners voted 6-1 to recommend the implication of the permitting ordinance without the annual renewal, but this recommendation was ignored by the Short Term Rental Committee.
The second, perhaps more pressing concern recognizes the cities’ liability in allowing compliant Airbnb’s/VRBO’s and issuing permits to vacation rentals.
“What we’re trying to do is permit STRs through the ordinance,” Minnick said. “And I have concerns that the city will have legal exposure if we get sued on it.” Says sitting city council member, Rebecca Minnick
Council Member Minnick has ample reason for concern – Palm Springs, CA has been leading the country in regulation of Airbnb, VRBO and other vacation rentals and currently requires that the city be added as Additionally Insured on the host’s insurance policy, securing coverage for the city should Minnick’s concerns be realized. Other hotbeds of short term rental such as Nashville, TN have added a $1 million dollar liability insurance requirement to their ordinance, further protecting the hosts.
A path forward
The solution for Short Term rental hosts is to get ahead of potential regulation by properly insuring your short term vacation rental with commercial insurance, provided by a company who knows the industry. Proper Insurance provides just such a policy, which meets or exceeds all requirements levied by communities, and is custom penned for the unique risks of vacation rental properties. Ultimately, regulation is a good thing for Short Term Vacation Rentals, as it gives the industry political capital against bans and other unrealistic regulations.