N.C. Court of Appeals hears arguments on Wilmington’s short-term rental rules

State appeals court looks at Wilmington's short-term rental lawsuit
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 9:29 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - Did the City of Wilmington violate state law when it enacted its short-term rental restrictions? That’s the question that the North Carolina Court of Appeals has to decide.

On Wednesday, a panel of three judges heard from attorneys representing the City of Wilmington and Dave and Peg Schroder, a couple that is fighting for the right to rent their homes.

The city enacted restrictions on short-term rentals several years ago.

One requirement says homeowners must register their property and obtain a permit from the city.

State law says that cities can’t do that.

Attorneys for the city argue the rule does not apply to them, since the restrictions are part of zoning ordinances, and say it is within their right to require permits. A local judge sided with the Schroeders.

But Wilmington appealed that decision to the state. Ari Bargil who represents the homeowners said the language is clear.

“Trial court has already held that the ordinance passed by the city is preempted by state law and they said quite plainly that state law prohibits registrations and the city enacted a registration, and that was the end of the decision,” he said.

The case will likely have impacts across the state, not just in Wilmington.

“This is an important case; it doesn’t just affect short term rentals or vacation rentals but this affects rental properties across the board throughout the state so the outcome of this case and the implications are huge,” Bargil said.

The City of Wilmington’s attorney John Joye also offered a statement on the case.

“It was very clear that the Court of Appeals listened carefully to the arguments, is thoughtfully considering the case, and we look forward to the court’s opinion when rendered.” Joye said.

Attorneys said the decision could take several months for the judges to decide, which is normal for the case of an appeal.

Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.