Friday, March 2, 2012

Short Term Rentals

There has been plenty of discussion on the Austin neighborhood elists about SRLs (short term rentals), pro and con. Some people have found them to be a blessing, and others found them to be a nightmare. "Good" and "bad" are labels used by the various contributors.

Some aspects of this discussion have caught my attention. One is how everyone is trying to sway others to their point of view. I'm reminded, as an alternative, to the Indian tribe that has discussions with a pumpkin in the middle. They are reminded by the pumpkin that there are many sides to an issue, and the challenge is to see all the sides.

The second issue is that I get the impression that everyone would like the law to enforce their point of view. For example, some say that the landlord should live in Austin. There may be more oversight if this occurs, but does this warrant a law? And what about a "out-of-Austin" landlord with an impeccable record? Should they be exempt from the law?

It is too easy to muddle our lives with laws—laws that force others to conform to what we think is best. But do laws really improve the quality of our lives? And do they support the dissenting opinion?

An equally important issue is whether we already have laws in place that, if enforced, would solve many of the problems.

Let's look at other means besides more regulations to solve problems. And let's be mindful that regulations create new problems as well as solve them.

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