On July 1, Governor Roy Cooper signed S.483, "Vacation Rental Act Changes.” The efforts of the North Carolina VRMA and the North Carolina Realtors, along with a group of VRMA stakeholders helped propel this bill to passage.
Trisha Howarth, the North Carolina VRMA President stated, “While Senate Bill 483 does not go as far as NC VRMA or NC REALTORS would like, it is a great first step toward protecting private property rights and the ability to use your property as you want in North Carolina. NC VRMA applauds the General Assembly leadership and Governor Cooper for their support to ensure local governments treat all residential properties the same way. We will continue to work with property rights champions on ways to protect our industry.”
These significant changes provide protections and ease regulatory burdens for vacation rental owners and managers. Communities with burdensome regulatory schemes across the state will now have to adjust their laws to comply with the new state law.
Wilmington is one of the first communities that will be put to the test. Wilmington’s new short-term rental law went into effect in June of this year and now appears to contradict state law. It allows primary only short-term rentals in all districts, but limits non-owner occupied rentals to only commercial zones. In addition, the law requires other restrictions and requirements including a fee and registration.
The new Vacation Rental Act amendments will now include the following changes:
“Cities and counties are authorized to perform periodic inspections for hazardous and unlawful conditions in buildings within their territorial jurisdiction when there is reasonable cause to believe that unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise hazardous or unlawful conditions may exist in a residential building or structure. However, cities and counties are not authorized to do any of the following, among other things:
Adopt or enforce any ordinance that would require any owner or manager of rental property to obtain any permit or permission from the local government to lease or rent residential real property or to register rental property with the local government, except when an individual rental unit has either more than four verified violations in a rolling 12-month period or two or more verified violations in a rolling 30-day period, or upon the property being identified within the top ten percent (10%) of properties with crime or disorder problems as set forth in a local ordinance.
Require that an owner or manager of residential rental property enroll or participate in any governmental program as a condition of obtaining a certificate of occupancy.
Levy a special fee or tax on residential rental property that is not also levied against other commercial and residential properties, unless expressly authorized by general law or applicable only to an individual rental unit or property with a certain number of verified violations, and the fee does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) in any 12-month period in which the unit or property is found to have verified violations.” – Source North Carolina Senate bill summary.
These changes will be sure to change the short-term rental regulatory discussion across the state.
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