BOZEMAN — Bozeman commissioners are considering banning certain Airbnb-style rentals. Whether it will free up more housing for residents looks to be heavily debated.
“We don’t want Bozeman to turn into Big Sky, we want to house the people,” said Jackson Sledge. "We want to house the ordinary working people who make the city run.”
Jackson Sledge with Bozeman Tenants United is browsing through a proposed ordinance that he says could bring a huge victory for people in Bozeman struggling to afford to live in the place where they work.
“For the first time in Bozeman history, we have hundreds of people, our own neighbors, being forced to camp on the street,” said Sledge.
Meanwhile, more than five percent of the city’s overall housing supply is being used for vacation rentals or short-term rentals.
According to the city, there are 306 active short-term rentals in Bozeman.
In a heat map provided by the city, you can see these rentals take a pretty big chunk out of the east side of town.
City commissioners will be voting Tuesday, Oct. 17 on a proposed ordinance that would ban a specific category of these short-term rentals—type 3 short-term rentals to be exact, units where the owner doesn’t live on-site at all.
Out of the 306 active short-term rentals, 74 of them are type 3. These “tourist homes” take up 10 percent of the lodging bed base in Bozeman, according to the city.
“Which is not a lot,” said McCullough Roach.
Roach is a Bozeman realtor who doesn’t think banning short-term rentals will solve the housing crisis.
“I think it’s an aggressive stamp,” said Roach. “It’s a bit of an overreach and I don’t think it’s fair to private property rights.”
The ordinance would also create special requirements on so-called “Type 2” rentals where the owner lives on-site.
“Going after STRs is not going to solve our problem,” said Roach. “I think it’s going to be a collaborative effort with organizations, banks, lenders—everybody to fix this.”
But still, Sledge and the rest of the Bozeman Tenants United group believe banning these short-term rentals is a step in the right direction.
“We’re glad the city is taking action on it and we’re looking forward to a yes vote on the 17th,” said Sledge.