Margaret Padgitt, Independence

To the editor:

On Aug. 13, the Planning Commission discussed short-term rentals in Independence. These are houses rented out in their entirety to vacation and business travelers for one to 30 days.

Four applicants attended, me included; however, only two applicants were able to present their case to the commission because a couple of other citizens brought up their concerns about short-term rentals. These concerns included upkeep of the homes and yards, potential for noise, potential for use of neighboring parking spaces and safety of neighboring children.

As a landlord who has had both long-term and short-term rentals, I can say the concerns raised are not valid. In fact, persons visiting Independence short term are here to have a good time, meet with family or friends, or conduct business, and are not interested in causing problems that could blacklist them through Airbnb or Vrbo (Vacation Rental by Owner). These companies have minimum requirements for renters so they are screened before they are allowed to make a reservation. Short-term renters take much better care of our properties than long-term renters do, and we, as landlords, keep our houses in tip-top shape because if we didn’t, we’d get poor reviews on the vacation sites and no one would rent from us again. The standard of care for short-term rentals is higher than for long-term rentals.

Short-term rentals provide a needed accommodation service. If we don’t keep up with the times as a city, we stand to lose income not only for the landlords involved, but restaurants, bars, and stores as well.

The city has requirements to license a short-term rental home. These include an inspection, ample parking, property maintenance, a no-noise policy, a hearing to include neighbors, an application and license fee of $350 and more. We, as landlords, understand there must be requirements to protect the public and travelers and welcome the opportunity to comply with City Code and obtain the required license.

Short-term rentals are good for our city. We hope the hearing tonight at City Hall will prove advantageous for all concerned.