Short-term lodging rentals in residential areas in Union are allowed “by default.”

The city doesn’t have regulations regarding renting out homes through websites such as Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) or AirBNB. There’s no zoning requirements or separate tourism tax and a business license isn’t required.

Property owners would be subject to health department regulations, Assistant City Administrator James Schmieder noted.

A property search on the two popular rental websites lists only one rental in the city limits of Union, with several in surrounding areas like Beaufort, Villa Ridge, Krakow and Washington.

The property available for rent in Union is owned by Tyann Marcink, who is a consultant for HomeAway and owner of several VRBOs.

Marcink has hosted over 10,000 guests at her properties and recently opened The Hoover House in Union.

“I do think there’s a demand for people who are looking for an extended stay or who want more of a home atmosphere than a hotel offers,” Schmieder said. “It fills that gap.”

The city has one hotel, Super 8. If there is an event and the hotel is full, people are forced to stay elsewhere.

The city hasn’t had requests from homeowners to rent out their properties, Schmieder said, but there is a demand for more lodging in the city.

The question is whether the gap is filled by a private investors or a private enterprise, he added.

“That’s a question the private sector will determine for us,” he said. “As a city, we welcome both opportunities.”

Different people are drawn to different lodging. For example, those who have a medical procedure nearby and need an extended option or who have more people who in their family than would comfortably fit in a hotel room might be attracted to alternative lodging.

Neighboring City

Washington officials have been discussing conditions to be placed on short-term lodging after voting against two requests by residents looking to Vacation Rentals By Owners (VRBO) in their homes.

Both of the homeowners received letters from the city of Washington informing them that they needed conditional use permits to rent out rooms or homes for short-term use in residentially zoned districts.

The city of Washington has a 5 percent tourism tax and owners are required to purchase a merchants license to rent out properties.