Wilmington’s vacation rental law struck down by NC appeals court

A North Carolina appeals court has struck down parts of Wilmington’s short-term rental ordinance that required owners to register their rental properties.

The court’s opinion partly affirmed a 2019 decision from a New Hanover County judge by ruling the city’s short-term rental ordinance violates state statute by requiring owners to register with the city to rent their properties.

The debate about short-term rentals has raged over the past decade since the launch of the Airbnb online home rental platform.

In North Carolina, the state statute prohibits local governments from requiring “permits and permissions to lease or rent” and “registrations of rental properties,” according to the court’s opinion, which was released on Tuesday.

Instead of striking down the entire rental ordinance, as the New Hanover judge did in 2019, the appeals court ruled that parts of the ordinance not tied to rental permitting or registration can remain in place.

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