There's a new issue being discussed in Monona (and in cities across the country) and it's regarding AirBnB rentals. Maybe you have one in your neighborhood or maybe you rent one out through this popular alternative to hotel stays?
One of my neighbors who moved out after 30+ years of living in Monona sold their home, which I suspect was purchased by one of the big corporations that are buying homes up all over the country for rental property. It's a lovely cape cod home with three bedrooms very similar to mine. I was hoping it would be home to a new family so, when I saw a couple coming out of the home I welcomed them to the neighborhood only to hear, "We're just renting it for the weekend!" And now I see a steady stream of weekend renters coming and going. Fortunately, the renters have been friendly and respectful of our neighborhood.
But not everyone has had a positive experience with short term rentals in their neighborhoods. The City has received complaints about these short term rentals disrupting neighborhoods with parties, trash, activity throughout the night, and so forth. So the City Council has started discussing the issue.
Madison changed their ordinance to regulate these rentals by enforcing a 30 day stay minimum for AirBnB rentals. Since this change, folks have been flocking to Monona and other nearby communities that haven't yet set regulations or those that are more short term rental friendly. We don't allow hotels in residential neighborhoods and the ramifications of short term rentals can be stressful to neighbors and reduce quality of life so we must regulate this use.
So if you have been impacted by a short term rental near you or you host AirBnB guests, you'll want to be plugged in to this issue. I LOVE public engagement and encourage the use of surveys whenever possible to garner input. I hope we'll see a survey coming out soon similar to the image above by Porch. If you're new to this issue, Porch has some great information on the pitfalls of AirBnB's.
I have been doing research on this subject for awhile because I worked in the tourism industry for 18 years with my business making tourism maps and tourism publications for communities in Wisconsin. We don't have a lot in common with Madison as a city because we're small, they're big, we're landlocked, they are not, and so many other reasons. So I don't think we should adopt Madison's policy but we need to look at other similar communities (suburbs) and adopt something similar.
One of the big concerns is trying to mitigate these large corporations that are buying homes across America, oftentimes with cash, and are typically predatory landlords. In 2021, there was a record number of homes purchased in America by these companies according to a Washington Post article. One of the big problems with them is that they do not do repairs, they are unresponsive, and it's nearly impossible to contact an actual human. So any policy we adopt must address this new trend.
With the help of Judge and former candidate Marilyn Townsend, I have been reviewing the policy adopted by Shorewood Hills. I think their ordinance could be a sound policy for Monona. We're similar communities on the edges of Madison and with ample lakefront property. The regulations in Madison are impacting both communities.
If this is an issue you are following, I would love to hear your input! I have linked to the Shorewood Hills ordinance below. What do you like or dislike about the policy? Please feel free to send me an email or give me a call at (608) 285-2054 if you would like to discuss it. I hope we'll see a survey issued soon so we have the opportunity to provide input that may not be widely known about our experiences of living near short term rentals or from those who are using AirBnB to supplement their income.
Yours in service,
Kristie Goforth, Candidate for Monona Mayor 2023
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