A. Barton Hinkle on How Virginia Lawmakers Are Harassing Short-Term Renters


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In September the city of Richmond, Virginia, will play host to the UCI world cycling championships. Hundreds of local homeowners had hoped to make a little coin on the side by renting out rooms to tourists via Airbnb. But city rules forbid rentals shorter than 30 days.

Just why the city forbids short-term room rentals isn't intuitively obvious, writes A. Barton Hinkle, unless you suspect the hotel interests put the city up to it. After all, you can rent many other things—cars, power tools, bouncy houses—for short periods, and nobody seems to mind. So why have the arbitrary requirement here? Unfortunately, Hinkle notes, it's not the only such restriction on the books in Virginia.