Letter to the Editor: Our Short-Term-Rental Money Stays in the County

I’m sure other property owners and vacation-rental managers are beyond weary of the current convenient catchall for complaints: short-term rentals. Some of the current themes include the perception that if you own and rent a property in Door County but don’t live in the county, the money “doesn’t stay local”; and that as out-of-town owners, we are “not invested in the community.”

These assertions could not be more inaccurate. For 16 seasons, my owners and I have spent tens of thousands of dollars locally as we improve, repair, enhance and maintain our homes. Year after year, we happily spend large sums of money employing our local housekeepers, tradespeople, contractors, insurance agents and handyfolks; and purchasing appliances, flooring, windows, furniture, décor and other critical products and services for our homes. We also retain a professional local property-support company.

We host more than 1,000 individuals each year who spend untold amounts of money eating, drinking, shopping, recreating and consuming all that Door County has to offer. Further, several of our guests have invested in land and properties in the county following stays in our homes.

It is a citizen’s right to own property where they choose. Wisconsin’s “right to rent” is a law. It is also entirely legal to run a business from anywhere, as thousands of business owners now do very effectively worldwide.

How real is the much-discussed issue about homes purchased by distant “opportunist investors” who are looking to profit, rob people of affordable homes and have zero ties to the county or interest in its greater good?

My Illinois license plates haven’t been popular for as long as I can remember. That’s OK! The perception that my fellow owners and I are taking loads of cash out of the county to spend elsewhere is all wrong. We are all passionate about and substantially invested in supporting the people and resources that make our enterprise work and contribute mightily to the local economy in Door County.

Kris Zeile
Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin