Letter: Owners must be responsible for their rentals

I’m saddened by the exploitation of our neighborhoods by operators of short-term accommodations who don’t uphold our traditions or promote the caretaking of our natural beauty and resources. I feel for folks living in residential neighborhoods who have to contend with noise and revellers.

It’s important to be clear in how we think about platforms such as Airbnb. They are platforms and, as such, aren’t responsible for the misuse of housing. Rather, people are responsible for the misuse of housing.

Airbnb was started by two young men who couldn’t pay their rent (one of whom has parents who are both social workers) and meant as a way to provide affordable accommodations for travellers. I’m not saying this to support the founders but rather to share that the concept was based, as I understand it, on the boarding house model of old.

My great grandmother ran a boarding house. That’s how my grandmother (her daughter) met my granddad. Renting rooms is an age-old way for people (and especially single women) to keep a roof over their heads.

I see providing inexpensive accommodations for folks who want to respectfully visit the county as a viable way for community members to make ends meet.

Packing a house with parties of people, being an absentee home-owner, and failing to educate guests about how they can keep the peace and harmony in our community is neither viable nor responsible. I feel it’s important to be clear about the differences and also to be clear about who and what to legislate as we move into this important phase of the county’s growth.

Rita di Ghent