Branson Receives Complaints over Nightly Rentals

by: Jenifer Abreu, Ozarks First

Running a nightly rental property and listing it on a site like Airbnb might sound like a good way to make extra cash. The City of Branson is reminding its residents that there are rules to be followed and specific locations for this type of business.

City Hall has received a few complaints this summer from neighbors who are concerned someone is running a nightly rental where they are not allowed to. These people say they don’t want tourists in their neighborhood.

Vacationrentals.com, HomeAway.come, VRBO and Airbnb are some websites and apps you can find a place to stay when traveling.

Jeremy Worley has been running long-term and short-term rentals since 2008 and has been advertising his properties on those sites

“We own a few nightly rentals here in Branson,” he said.

But before you list your property on sites like Airbnb or HomeAway, he says you first need a business license with the city of Branson and the property has to be located in a high-density residential area, a zone where the city allows nightly rentals.

“Within the past month we’ve gotten about four complaints,” said Melody Pettit, communications manager for the City of Branson.

She says neighbors have reported a lot of activity in certain homes.

“You will find that these neighbors really want to protect that residential vibe,” Pettit said. “They don’t want a lot of people coming and going.”

So, the city is reminding homeowners of the rules.

“We certainly encourage this kind of thing if their neighborhood is zoned correctly for that,” Pettit said.

Worley is all good with the city and says from his end he’s never had any complaints.

“The long-term rentals that I’ve had had more beer cans and complaints from the associations. And since we’ve switched over to the short-term rental we’ve had absolutely zero,” he said.

Setting up a nightly rental also requires an inspection from the city and fire department plus a Missouri sales tax license, which the state doesn’t require but Branson does.

“I’d like to see something in state statute that requires people to do it. I don’t think that you should have to pay commercial tax, but I do think that sales and tourism tax is a benefit to our area,” Worley said.

It costs anywhere from $50-75 to get that business license.

If someone is running a nightly rental without that license or in a zone where it’s not allowed, Pettit says they will be contacted by the City of Branson and have a week to take down the listing. If they don’t comply, then a citation could be issued and they will have to go to court.