Learn the ‘good, bad and ugly’ aspects of short-term home rentals

By Jyl Hall

Hosting a home for short-term guest stays can be profitable —
or it can create liabilities. Learn how to ensure the process is a
positive one at Dixie State University’s crash course on short-term rental

Sponsored by Dixie State’s Community Education program, the two-day
class will take place this Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20.

City of St. George officials report that at least 80 percent
of people listing their homes on popular websites like Airbnb and VRBO/HomeAway
are doing so without the required license. Currently, the city only allows short-term
rentals within a few areas and planned developments. Neighboring communities
also report challenges addressing this growing industry.

According to global trend tracker Skift, short-term rental
bookings have increased by approximately 1,000 percent in seven years. Furthermore,
experts predict that this industry will continue its growth through 2022 and

“Short-term rentals are popular. Guests may not know if
the short-term rental host is offering the reservation legally or in violation
of local laws,” Julie Davies, class instructor and author of Vacation
Rental Management 411, said. “Limiting the number of licensed short-term
rental homes doesn’t decrease the demand for this alternative lodging; it determines
if guest reservations will be filled by licensed operators or those who either
don’t know they need a license or don’t care about hosting responsibly.”

The DSU class, which has been approved by the Utah Division
of Real Estate for 10 CORE continuing education credits, reviews local, state
and federal laws affecting this industry. Additionally, the class goes over best
practices regarding the design, management, maintenance, security, housekeeping,
accounting and reservations of managing and hosting a home for short stays. The
class is only offered within accredited higher education settings to keep its content
free of biased or commercial information. 

“It’s rewarding when graduates consistently give the
course high evaluation scores and say they would recommend it to others — even
longtime hosts who thought they already knew everything or those who didn’t
think there were any rules they needed to know about renting their home for
short stays,” said Davies, who has been a lodging industry manager and
educator for more than 30 years and owns 5-star rated vacation homes.

“There’s an increasing demand for lodging within a
home-like setting, and people want to host short-term rentals for varied
reasons,” Davies added. “A good host doesn’t want a guest to be
injured while staying in their home, and we don’t want guests to create damage
or to disrupt our neighborhood.”

These scenarios can be avoided by using time-honored best
practices and innovative devices and procedures that are explained in the class. 

The cost for the two-day class is $270, and attendees must
register by Thursday, April 18, to attend this session. For more information or
to register for the class, visit ce.utahtech.edu
or call 435-652-7675.