Renting out homes to tourists has become a profitable business in the United States. Despite its economical benefits, this type of enterprise can also take its toll on tightly-knit communities such as the Adirondack High Peaks in Lake Placid.
This mountain village has become a destination of choice for travelers, especially for those who would like to experience alpine living. The place has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, accommodating thousands of visitors from across the globe.
Tourism has become the primary source of revenue of the community’s 2,400 residents. Restaurants, shops, hotels, and other business establishments dot the downtown area. Recently, the village has become part of Airbnb’s expanding network of private home rentals.
Regulating Home Rentals
This growing trend, however, has led local officials to examine the effects of the business on the community and find ways to manage it. These legislators have proposed a law that would require homeowners to secure permits and set the number of guests each home can take in.
Lawmakers have a lot of reasons to be worried. Long-time residents have reported crowded homes, jam-packed streets, and boisterous night parties. These unregulated home rentals have led to a significant spike in rental prices, making them unaffordable for locals who work there.
But owners of these lake placid vacation rental homes feel that the proposed bill to regulate them might be going a bit too far. These entrepreneurs think the law is anti-business and limits their ability to earn a stable income.
Lake Placid’s Mayor Craig Randall believes that once the government implements the law, folks would feel its impact across the village. He pointed out that his government will not forbid people from getting access to such home rentals under the area’s zoning laws.
A Growing Enterprise
Based on the latest Airbnb figures, there are now 300 accredited homes in Lake Placid which can accommodate about 26,000 guests. Currently, the company has 2.9 million hosts around the world.
According to the Airbnb’s website, there are around 300 lake placid vacation rental homes wherein each of them can earn $357 nightly. A typical host can earn as much as $12,600 if the demand for rentals is high.
Although the village’s tourism sector is experiencing a boom, these short-term house rentals also have a downside. The situation is making these homes more valuable than they are and consequently, jacking up real estate prices in the community.
More worrisome is that residents can no longer afford the high rental of residences. Homes that used to cost only 300 and being rented out for 400 to 450. Some homeowners are also forced to live elsewhere so they could recoup their investment.
Randall said the social fabric of the community is also being pulled apart by the explosion in home rentals. He noted that the village is starting to lose its full-time residents who are living further away.
The mayor said that he does not want his place to experience what had happened to other tourist-themed towns which open and close based on the season. More importantly, he does not was his village to lose its character.