Mike Roberts of Outside Magazine was on my morning radio show Dominick In The Morning and talked about the problem small towns are having because of online short-term rentals. The story he edited “Did Airbnb Kill the Mountain Town” got some Bozeman listeners upset.

In the story, Bozeman is referred to. Roberts admitted that some towns are getting so expensive that residents may have to leave. They are really great places to live but once the rest of the world hears about them, homes and real estate increase in price.

Roberts talked about the problem and admitted his magazine in some way is sometimes to blame. By spotlighting a town like Bozeman and the problems that Airbnbs bring to a place, the magazine may be making the problem worse.

To report or not to report - that is the question. And like Hamlet, the answer is not an easy one.

Roberts talked about some of the towns that are trying to pass laws making it a crime to rent out your home. What is the answer? Roberts doesn't know, but his magazine is following it.

Listeners like Doug called in and blamed Outside Magazine for letting people know about great places to live. Doug thought the people who run Outside Magazine probably own Airbnbs, maybe even some in Bozeman. He charged that the editors might be buying homes and then telling everyone about what a great sleepy little town then found. People move to the place, they make money from the secret Airbnbs they own. It could be a big conspiracy.

While none of this is true, or at least Doug the caller offered no proof, is he right to say by talking about the housing and real estate problem in small towns it makes the problem worse? The fact remains - we have a problem in Bozeman and something needs to be done.


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