COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho. – Idaho Rep. Jordan Redman (R – Coeur d’Alene) introduced a new bill that would limit local, city control on short-term rental properties across the Gem State, and those in favor and not in favor are coming forward.
“We just want to put the best face of Coeur d’Alene forward and we feel like what we’ve done here really does that,” Melissa Radford, a short-term rental property owner, said.
Over the last three years, Melissa Radford and her husband have worked to give new life to a home that has stood on Government Way in Coeur d’Alene for over 100 years.
“We’ve put a lot of money into making this house beautiful and helping it stand for another hundred years,” Radford said.
When Radford’s sister decided to move to Coeur d’Alene, Radford and her husband decided to find a home to live in temporarily when visiting. But when they kept visiting and visiting, they quickly fell in love with North Idaho – they decided to move to Coeur d’Alene entirely. They now call the beautiful resort city home and have turned the home on Government Way into an Airbnb.
But in the last few months, they’ve run into some local trouble in owning the property.
“This negativity that city council has created, it breaks my heart, because we just want to welcome people,” Radford said.
City Councilmember Dan Gookin has spoken publicly multiple times on his concern over the growing short-term rental population across Coeur d’Alene. Right now, Gookin said around 800 are licensed with the city.
“Then they exploded, and that became a problem because they started to push into the neighborhoods,” Gookin said.
After conducting studies across the city, speaking with neighbors here and there, Gookin said the people who live in short-term rentals are not neighbors. And for those who call Coeur d’Alene home, they want to have neighbors, consistent ones.
Gookin claimed these properties also tend to violate good neighborhood integrity.
“It’s not that they cause a lot of problems, and we don’t want to ban them,” he said. “We want to keep them to a reasonable number. These are neighborhoods, these are residences, people buy into a neighborhood, they’re investing in a neighborhood, not into a hotel.”
Idaho Rep. Jordan Redman recently introduced House Bill 506 designed to promote access to short-term rentals and vacation rentals by limiting local governmental authority to probit the property uses or to specifically target them for regulation; regulation that other entities, like long-term rentals, do not face.
“I’m not against healthy regulation, what I am against is trying to force folks out of what they want to do with this property,” Redman said.
“Our side is the other side from Mr. Redman, we want to protect the neighbors and neighbors have property rights too,” Gookin said. “We’re trying to balance it, he’s trying to pull the rug out right from under us.”
Under Redman’s bill, Gookin believes city government would lose control over the rental properties and in turn cause uproar across neighborhoods.
“If Mr. Redman’s bill passes, then neighbors will complain to us but there will be nothing we can do about it because he’s basically saying that if you want to have a frat party every weekend in your vacation rental, there’s nothing you can do about it,” Gookin said. “That will be your neighbor, and people in Coeur d’Alene don’t want that.”
Redman countered this statement with:
“When you’re picking winners and losers, and just overregulating, I think that is when we have a property rights issue, and that’s where across the state, we do stand for personal property rights, and that’s where we had to come in and say, ‘you can go this far, but you can’t go past this,’” Redman said.
And as Radford knows, having run a successful Airbnb, partying is not tolerated whatsoever by the corporation. She said the ongoing partying across short-term rental properties is a myth.
“Airbnb will kick you off the platform if you’re having parties at your house. If there are places that are a problem, specific houses, we want those taken care of just as much as everyone else because anything that those places have reflects on us even if it’s not true across the board,” Radford said.
While Redman and Radford argue a few bad apples should not dictate regulation over all functioning short-term rentals, Gookin argued the takeover of the properties is simply too much in a town like Coeur d’Alene.
“I’m not just going to take the side of someone because they’re making a ton of money off a rental, I want to be accommodating to that person, but they have to understand they’re the invaders here, they’re the ones taking over the neighborhoods and causing problems,” Gookin said.
Rather than the state taking control, Gookin said he and his fellow city councilmembers should be trusted to do what’s best for the city. And he says limiting short-term rentals is the way to go.
“This is the level where it’s done best, local level,” he said. “When the state does this, not only are they telling us they don’t believe in local control, but they’re telling all these neighbors ‘too bad, we’re the dictators in Boise and we’re going to tell you what to do,’ and I think that’s unfair and it’s wrong.”
In Radford’s eyes, her rights are being infringed upon.
“It’s hurtful, it’s discriminatory, and it’s just not right,” the property owner said.
She stands with Redman’s bill. A hearing will be held on the bill’s future within the next couple of weeks.
“This law will bring fairness and protection of Idahoans and of people who just want other people to enjoy our beautiful state,” Radford said.