Weehawken bans short-term rentals like Airbnb in the township

Weehawken officially enacted a ban on short-term housing rentals in the township.

The ruling prohibits rentals of less than 30 consecutive days, targeting short-term rental hosts who use vacation rental companies like Airbnb and Booking.com to rent units for short periods rather than renting to one tenant at a time. long term.

Weehawken, a waterfront community on the Hudson River with stunning views of New York City, is a hotspot for short-term or vacation rentals. As of December 20, there were plenty of listings for short-term rentals on Airbnb, ranging from $92 to $375 and beyond.

Ban short-term and vacation rentals

Short-term rentals were previously permitted if the renting hosts were licensed. This permit had to be renewed annually for a small fee, and the host was allowed to offer listings on Airbnb and other similar services.

At its December 21 meeting, Mayor Richard Turner and Weehawken Township Council passed an ordinance that would effectively ban short-term rentals in the township.

Prior to the meeting, Turner told the Hudson Reporter that the ordinance prohibits short-term rentals of less than 30 consecutive days, but the township is considering allowing them again with strict regulations at a later date.

” We’re going examine all the ordinances that all the other cities have put in place, but right now we’re going to ban them because it’s really starting to spiral out of control,” Turner said.

According to Turner, the township has issues with short-term rentals that rob affordable housing of long-term use in rent-controlled buildings.

“The biggest problem we’re having now is that some of our affordable housing buildings and rent-controlled buildings are starting to Airbnb,” Turner said. “What it does is take affordable units off the market. We are losing affordable apartments in Airbnb and we decided to take action because we have several buildings that are going into overdrive.

Turner said that in new buildings, condo associations typically ban Airbnbs. Instead, they’re prevalent in affordable housing, with one case of five Airbnbs in a building as new as last year, Turner said.

Uncomfortable residents and strangers bringing the crime?

In addition to taking affordable housing off the market, Turner argued that short-term rentals make residents uncomfortable in the apartment buildings where they happen. Although located in densely populated Hudson County, the small township is still mostly suburban in nature, prompting residents to complain about the comings and goings of strangers, he said.

“We get complaints all over town from people who are not comfortable with their neighbors renting on Airbnb if it’s a three-unit rental property and there’s has strangers coming and going,” Turner said. “We live in an urban area and it’s a small town and people just aren’t comfortable.”

Another reason behind the proposed ban on short-term rentals is crime. He said sometimes people come up with these short-term rentals and find their property and even furniture is missing.

“People are renting out their apartments and complaining that something is missing,” Turner said. “It’s widespread. We’ve had people complain about taking heirlooms, taking furniture, taking photos and this and that.

According to Turner, this ban would not affect family hosts as much as investors seeking to profit from short-term rentals.

“The industry says I am depriving mom-and-pop owners of the house,” Turner said. “I am unaware of family owners, someone who lives in the house and is looking forward to renting it out regularly. It is so rare and it is just not that type of town.

Turner said most short-term rentals in Weehawken are owned by absentee landlords who often don’t live in the township.

“The problem comes from absentee owners of multi-family, affordable housing or regular homes,” Turner said. “You can have six consecutive owner-occupied homes and the seventh home is made up of three Airbnb units. Most people who do this are absentee landlords and they make more money than if they just rented it out to regular people.

Tough penalties aim to curb short-term rentals

Penalties for each violation of the order started at $1,000 for the first time, $1,500 for the second time and $2,000 for the third time, with the possibility of 90 days in jail. Turner said it was intended to discourage the practice due to significant loss of revenue, with the fine being equivalent to what he said was revenue from bookings for two short-term rentals.

“We need to make the fine as heavy as the lawyers think we can get away with so people don’t say it’s worth just paying the fine,” Turner said. “If they start getting hit with fines of something like $2,000, I think the significant loss of income would put them off.”

Turner said the township is comfortable with the ban, now doing so in the winter to prepare for what is usually a Weehawken rush in the spring. However, the township will consider other policies of neighboring municipalities, such as City of Jersey which has passed strict regulations on short-term rentals in the past, to see if Weehawken would benefit.

“Were do this now before the spring comes, it is when it really restarts, not too much in ee Winter,” Turner said. Were very comfortable with that. But Good looked just to see if There are anything that makes sense.

For updates on this story and others, visit www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at [email protected].

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