A coalition of business interests calling itself "Global Real Property Trust" is suing dozens of property owners in Charleston, S.C., to put a halt to the practice of short-term rentals made popular through web sites such as Craig's List and AirBnB.

Short-term rentals — defined as stays of less than 30 days — aren’t new. But as they have mushroomed in recent years, they have set off a fresh debate, pitting the rights of private property owners against local government efforts to regulate these hotel alternatives, reports Allison Prang. Many homeowners rent rooms or their entire house for part of the year in order to help pay their mortgages.

“Cities all around the world are struggling with these issues, and we are no different,” said Jacob Lindsey, director of Charleston’s Department of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability. “Cities around the country deal with it in radically different ways.”

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