Why is it important to regulate short-term rentals?
In the past several years, the prevalence of Short-Term Rental (STR) properties have increased significantly throughout Ulster County and the Hudson Valley region. This increase in STR activity is primarily due to the growing popularity of web-based platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo, making it easier for homeowners and property management companies to profit from the County’s existing housing stock. STRs can have both negative and positive impacts on a community. Some of the positive impacts of STRs include:
- STRs can boost tourism and increase spending in the local economy by providing visitors with more places to stay at a variety of price points.
- Income from STRs may offset housing costs for a homeowner.
- STRs can also provide tax revenue in the form of a bedroom tax or a hotel & motel occupancy tax, if STRs are classified as hotel or motel uses in the municipality.
Some potential negative impacts of STRs include:
- Disruption to residential neighborhoods.
- Building safety concerns.
- A more pressing issue is that in communities where there is a high demand for STRs, property owners that previously rented to full-time residents may switch to STRs. This lowers the supply of available housing for full-time residents and puts upward pressure on the cost of the remaining housing stock.
It is increasingly important for municipalities to have local regulations in place to help monitor STRs and mitigate their negative consequences while maintaining their positive benefits.
Minimum Criteria for the Short-Term Rental Regulations:
- Limit short-term rentals to owner-occupied units OR Limit the total number of short-term rentals to 2 percent of the total housing stock.
- Require STR operators to register the STR unit through a municipal registry process.
- Require STR operators to pay a fee to cover the cost of administration of the STR registration program. NOTE: This criterion is recommended but not required
- Require that STR units are inspected for safety. NOTE: This criterion is recommended but not required
Short-Term Rental Regulation Examples:
Town of Greenwich, CT – STR regulations limit the length that a short-term renter can stay and require that rooms have emergency escapes. All commercial activity or events are prohibited. The new regulations do not allow for accessory units to be used as rentals, and require rentals to have sufficient parking.
Village of Cold Spring, NY – The Village adopted a STR law in 2021 requiring that STRs meet certain safety standards and have a permit, which is valid for only one year. There are only 33 permits for STR’s in the Village which are issued through a lottery system. The new law also has provisions that limit how close rentals are to one another, require parking in certain zoning districts, and mandate that properties have to be owner occupied, among other things.
Cold Spring’s STR Model Ordinance.
Short Term Rental Impacts on Rent and Home Prices
The Effect of Home-Sharing on House Prices and Rents: Evidence from Airbnb