ROCK HILL, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Rock Hill is putting a halt on new and renewing permits for short-term rentals for at least the next six months.
A decision that’s affecting short-term renters like Tom Hutto.
He and his wife own rockhillstays.com, where they operate nine Airbnb locations.
“We really just don’t understand why the city put us out of business. We can’t renew our permits; therefore we can’t operate,” Hutto told Queen City News.
City attorney Paul Dillingham told the council during a February 14 meeting that the Rock Hill Council of Neighborhoods expressed some concerns about the short-term rentals in the area.
The resolution signed by President Aubrey Smith says “the homes are mainly in their older neighborhoods and these transient tenants have a negative effect on the peace and perceived safety of those neighborhoods.”
Hutto says their concerns are unfounded.
“And that’s the real big kick in the teeth. We’ve been operating for you know a year, our guests have had no parties, no crimes, we’re enhancing our properties making them look better in the neighborhood.”
He says in 2021 the 39 permitted properties hosted nearly 8200 guests creating 40 new local jobs.
Affecting not only their revenue but the people they employ.
“We have six housekeepers and two full maintenance workers. If I don’t have a house to clean for a housekeeper, I don’t need a housekeeper and I’ll have to cancel all my reservations and put my guests in a pinch,” Hutto said.
He says he and other renters worked with the city and the planning commission to draft up the first ordinance.
“Sixteen months ago, the city council said the city council finds that there is a growing national interest for short-term accommodations in traditional neighborhood settings. City council finds that the provision for such accommodations can be beneficial to the public if potential negative impacts are managed.”
Hutto says some of the newer hosts recently bought and fixed up properties based on the current ordinance, now those folks are out of luck. He ultimately feels like the city isn’t listening to the landlords.
“In the first round when we helped develop the law with the city, they had workshops, they invited people to come in. This ordinance was added to the agenda the Friday before the Monday that they voted on it. They spent a grand total of four minutes and 15 seconds rushing it through.”
He says the city also didn’t let them know that it was going to happen, nor did they notify them that it happened.
“We found out two and a half weeks ago when one of our hosts went to renew her permit, they said well you can’t because there’s a moratorium. And then we got an email from the city saying, “Oh by the way you can’t operate anymore,” Hutto said.
The city will meet again for a public hearing in the first week of April.