ST. LOUIS – There are more than 4,000 short-term rentals in St. Louis City. At present, the city has no regulations for short-term rentals, but that’s more than likely about to change as city leaders inch closer to getting some rules on the books.
Some short-term rental property owners, like Amanda McCracken, fear they will run them out of business.
McCracken owns five long-term rental properties and four short-term rental properties. Three are across from Tower Grove Park and one is in Dogtown.
“They’re completely renovated,” McCracken said. “I didn’t buy them in good shape. I’ve pumped money into the city. I love the hospitality; I love meeting my guests and I just enjoy it.”
The Transportation and Commerce Committee is considering rules that would require permits for those who offer short-term rentals, banning single-night rentals, and requiring people with permits to be available to customers and police at all times.
“I already do a lot of what the city is trying to implement,” McCracken said. “I feel like I should be able to have occupancy like that of a hotel and that’s gonna hurt me if I can’t advertise that I have a house large enough for their family, because that’s why people come here. They want to be together as a family.”
She says her units are for families, not for parties, but Steve Pona lives down the street from McCracken’s properties. He’s had such an issue with short-term rentals near his home that he put up yard signs and signs letting people know not to park on his private property. He says the house next door has been a party house and now has a cease-and-desist letter on the door.
“They’re being notified that they are a nuisance property, and the process has taken over a year and a half to finally document this to the point that the city is taking action,” Pona said.
Pona started the group called “Neighborhoods for Neighbors.” He wants even tougher restrictions than what Board Bills 33 and 34 propose, like banning short-term rentals, a 10 p.m. curfew for gatherings, and penalties if things get out of control.
“What we’re asking for is for the city to put in some effective legislation to enforce it and to promote families and community again,” Pona said.
The committee plans to vote on a final proposal on Tuesday, Oct. 3. McCracken wants the committee to hear from one of her customers and clear up some misconceptions.
Tonya Cooper and her cousins are visiting St. Louis from Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
“Airbnb’s has been the best solution for our families in St. Louis,” Cooper said.
But if the Ponas don’t get what they’re asking for, he says they will move.
“I’m out, gone. It’s heartbreaking,” he said.