October 28, 2015 Letter to the Editor – Short-term rentals more problematic

Re: Oct. 14 commentary, “Crusade against short term rentals is misinformed.”

Pete Gilcrease’s claim that there are only 12 problem property owners is based on a report from the Austin Rental Alliance that skews an unreliable data set collected from Code Enforcement. Among other issues with this data, it is pulled from Code Enforcement’s database, which isn’t synced with other city databases, so after-hours noise complaints handled by Austin police are not part of the data set.

We have called Code Enforcement more than five times regarding the short-term rental next door, but its owner is not listed among Austin Rental Alliance’s “bad actors,” nor is there any record of complaint to that property in the data used.

Short-term rental proponents have misinformed the public before when they claimed that short-term rentals bring in more than $15 million in hotel occupancy tax revenue. The actual number is just $2.3 million. Vigorous debate on short-term rentals is important. Misleading the public with bad “facts” doesn’t further that debate; it only cheapens it.

JESSICA NEUFELD AND RYAN SUNESON, NEIGHBORS FOR SHORT TERM RENTAL REFORMS, AUSTIN

Link to full response:

http://saveaustinneighborhoods.com/debunking-industry-facts/

http://tablet.olivesoftware.com/Olive/Tablet/AustinAmericanStatesman/SharedArticle.aspx?href=AAS%2F2015%2F10%2F28&id=Ar01502