From the Airbnb owner’s view, renting is a property right that the local government is trying to regulate, think Nashville, las Vegas, and Orlando as cities trying to outlaw STR. This property right is protected by both federal and state Equal Protection rights, see Hernandez v. Robles, 7 N.Y.3d 338, 362 (2006) and means that in no way is renting or buying an Airbnb illegal but that doesn’t mean local cities can’t regulate it.
With the Equal Protection Clause, all persons similarly situated are to be treated correspondingly; hence any property owner desiring to legally rent their unit must comply with the local rental permit ordinance. Applying the well-established “rationally related” standard to any property right deprivation would pass constitutional muster if the intent of the ordinance is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the local government residents. The guise of any rental permit ordinance is to protect the Short term rental inhabitants as well as property neighbors.
So while we believe rental permits are legal, property owners are treated unequally by required minimum rental days. Is there any more or less safety being present at a rental home that is for 29 or fewer days as compared to more than 29 days? Safety conditions in the property are no more or less to be impacted by the term of the rental. Further local cities and counties’ justification for minimum rental periods is that long-term rentals are more invested in the community. This logic is inadequate when compared to the assumption that a property owner is always more vested when compared to a renter due to property ownership, therefore any rental length would have to be banned.
The problem is that local municipals are overregulating short-term rentals and trying to outright ban them due to pressure from companies like Disney and Vegas Casino. Currently, the Supreme court hasn’t taken up a case on short-term rentals but with the growing interest, it is bound to happen. With the current makeup of the Supreme Court being more conservative, one would think they would side with the property owners. However, until then we have to continue to get rulings from local judges. Sadly Local judges have sided with both sides in different cases. While in no way are properties on VRBO or Airbnb illegal, until we hear from the highest court, local governments with pressure from corporating will continue to write strict regulations against STRs.