Editor’s note: This commentary is in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine, as part of our “It’s Debatable” feature. In this regular column, we invite organizations and/or individuals to address a particular issue. Click here to subscribe to the magazine, available in both print and digital formats: www.adirondackexplorer.org/subscribe.
The question: Should communities take steps to regulate short-term rentals around the park?
By Steve Hoepfl
In 2018, I saw a news story about Cooperstown updating its local law concerning short-term rentals. They interviewed a resident about the new law. His reply was he thought it was good, that it would help keep the community a place where people could and wanted to live. His reply struck home and I started thinking about the effects these rentals could have on Old Forge and what laws we had in place for them.
I went to the next town board meeting to inquire about such laws and came to find out there weren’t any. I also found that you can’t build a motel in a district zoned residential. But it’s OK to rent a house to different people every day of the week in a residential neighborhood. Isn’t that the same thing?
Plus, I learned that the houses used for short rentals aren’t subject to inspections like a B&B or motel. I asked how many properties have houses on them among Eagle Bay, Hollywood Hills, The Fulton Chain of Lakes, Old Forge, Thendara and Okara Lakes and I was told about 2,600 properties. Three years ago it was estimated that 500 to 700 were being used as short-term rentals. In the spring of 2021 that number had increased to almost 1,500. Would that increase concern you in your community?
While the motels in the area collect around $500,000 in sales tax each year, no such taxes are collected from short-term rentals. The Old Forge Kinney Drugs location is assessed at $1,345,000 and the company pays property taxes on that amount. The rental houses are taxed as a personal space, but are charging hundreds of dollars a night or thousands a week for guests to use them. What are these rentals returning to the community?
They do make it possible for more people to visit the area. But everything has a limit. How many more people can our hiking trails support? There have already been concerns about the trail at Bald Mountain. Another example of limitations is the Old Forge Ambulance. An increase of people to the area resulted in an increase in EMS calls. This volunteer organization hired paramedics to handle the calls and the town pays $200,000 a year toward the payroll.
There have always been these rentals in the area since we are a tourist town. But the internet has made it so easy to rent now that it is turning our neighborhoods into rental hoods. It is no longer the second homeowner renting a few times a year to help pay the taxes. People are now buying houses for the sole purpose of renting them to tourists by the night. How would you like it if the houses around your residential zoned home turned into an unmonitored motel? What about the local couple with three children in the schools who recently received an eviction notice that the house they had been renting is being turned into a short-term rental?
How many more of the 2,600 properties will be turned into these brief rentals? I’m guessing many more, if this isn’t regulated. Because just outside of the Blue Line, there are over a million people living in Central New York, many of them wanting to enjoy the Adirondacks. There has to be a balance or there won’t be a community left that we can call home. A committee was formed in 2019 to address the issue. But, to date, no law has been put in place. ν
Steve Hoepfl is the owner of Christy’s Motel in Old Forge. He currently serves on an advisory board for the Town of Webb, looking at housing issues.
By Rhiannon Hamm and Sandy King
Communities are moving toward regulating short-term rentals and it has me a little confused. These rentals are a good thing. They provide revenue for regions, memories for families and the opportunity to vacation someplace while being able to skip paying a nightly hotel fee and allowing yourself all the amenities a home has to offer.
As a mom of three little kids, I have taken the hotel route. I have paid $200 a night to stay at a hotel that has a mini fridge, two beds and a bathroom. No yard to play in, no countertop for meal prep, no washer and dryer for dirty clothes. Need I say more? I have vacationed with other family members in a hotel and the time spent together is nil. The entire point of vacationing with family is to wake up and be together, to have meals together, to play outside and sit on the deck having coffee together; not spending the week in two separate hotel rooms.
Let’s move on to the tourism and revenue short-term rentals provide. When we open the community for new faces, we allow people to experience what makes our area so special. The Adirondacks, for example, is a nationally recognized area in New York State. Everyone wants a piece of it. But finding and affording real estate here is difficult. Not every family has the means to purchase and float another mortgage just to be able to visit the area once or twice a year. This brings many families to search for short-term rentals. Most working families cannot take off two weeks to a month for a vacation. Typically, a week is the maximum average vacation. When renters stay a few days to a week, they are experiencing all the community has to offer. They are going to dinner, hiking, kayaking, shopping, etc.
The amount of traffic these short-term rentals bring is no more than normal local traffic traveling to and from work daily. I could argue that short-term rentals are less traffic-causing than the local families living in the community. When they visit, they are usually parking and walking to most destinations. They aren’t running errands, driving to and from day care and work, grocery shopping twice a week. The idea that short-term renters are causing an influx in traffic is a little far-fetched.
These rentals are nice homes. They are kept up nicely and cleaned weekly. Lawns are maintained to a higher standard and homes are cleaned to immaculate condition because you want guests to come back. You don’t have garbage and debris stored on the side yard, you don’t have lawn ornaments crowding the front yard and sidewalk. These rentals are not community eyesores; they are quite the opposite.
Last, but most importantly: Owning a short-term rental allows the owner to have a home they can vacation in themselves, spend holidays with their family and someday pass down to their children without having the financial stress of paying for them out of pocket. Renting them allows you to pay the mortgage and the bills but keep them for your family. I can speak for 90% of rentals when I say these are not our bread and butter. You rent them to give other families a safe, nice, clean home to vacation in, and while doing so, you make money to pay the mortgage so you have a slice of the heaven of owning a home in a beautiful, desired area. Isn’t that the American dream?
Sandy King, a native of Old Forge, previously owned and rented homes in Thendara. She sold her properties to Rhiannon Hamm and her husband this July.
Photos from Old Forge by Jamie Organski
A great topic but why wasnt the question “Should towns and villages and counties enact an across the board TAX on short term rentals?” I believe that Warren (or was it Clinton) County collects a fixed amount per night from every VRBO, AirBnB etc. The argument that family run motels pay taxes and the short term landlords do not is a very valid question. The short term landlord would simply add the cost to their price automatically just like the cleaning fee and other add-ons. Renters would still get the house options but more money would pour into the tax base.
I think the simplest thing would be to tax homes based on their usage. Fully residential pays one rate, homes or the portions thereof that are rented short-term pay a different commercial rate. There would be a tax incentive to provide year-round rentals and there would be increased revenue for the towns to cover some of the negatives generated by short-term rentals. I understand there are tradeoffs here–some short-term rentals are helping seniors stay in their homes, while other short-term rentals are purely businesses owned by out-of-town investors who really don’t care that it is changing the character of the community. Not really mentioned by either person is this situation is eliminating year-round rentals for the very people needed to clean and maintains these rentals, or to work at the restaurants and ski areas, etc. They would love to live and work in the community but instead are commuting an hour or more each way from some other town.
First off, I can’t believe there is anything in NY that isn’t taxed. On a serious note, rentals should be taxed on some basis however I also support limits on, and restrictions for, short term rentals. No one wants to be next to a house where 20 drunk people show up after a wedding reception and parties until 5 am, especially if you have to go to work the next day. The area where I live recently put some constraints on AirBnB for that very reason.
Only in a day and age with social media, the internet, and the capacity to fully study and understand things like this, could people find a way to vilify rentals. As with the aforementioned items, rentals can be a great thing if people weren’t involved in the equation.
I’m not a huge fan of people swooping in and buying property for the sake of making it a rental. Let me be clear. There should be a disincentive of some kind on that behavior. That said, it is fine if they are keeping the property up. That’s the beauty of our financial system. The problems arise with absentee landlords and socialist proponents like Blackrock. If you know, you know.
If the property is legally and ethically owned, bit it isn’t being used, it is a great way for people to visit the Adirondacks without becoming part of the park. Sprawl is not a good thing, and temporary living helps avoid it. Simultaneously, the visitors are adding to the local economy.
“ Absentee landlords and socialist proponents like Blackrock “ ? You can rest assured that Blackrock is anything but socialist ! It is one of the biggest profit centers in the country. One of the problems with Blackrock is that it is so big that it can throw it’s financial weight around to circumvent local regulations.
STRs are a business and if local communities wish to put a tax and regulations with their use it seems reasonable to me. Motels and hotels pay – why are STRs exempt ? Tourism is good ! Ask Paris, France or New York City ! But not only are organizations within the Blue Line encouraging tourism they are also making an effort to attract new younger residents by improving broadband, aiding in community revitalization etc. We need better housing stock available for long term rentals for these prospective residents and the proliferation of STRs has skewed this supply.
If they operate as a business, which short term rentals are – they should be taxed!
Renting Adirondack homes goes back a long way and isn’t limited to second home owners. I recall an article in Adirondack Life magazine where a family living in Lake George purchased an RV and then reserved campsites for two weeks at Adirondack campgrounds across the area. The reason they did this was so they could rent out their Lake George house for the entire summer. These rentals must bring considerable income to the communities in terms of dining out, shopping, etc. This issue needs much more study
These were great answers to this edition of “It’s Debetable”! My main criticism of the “No” regulation apologia is that I have never heard of STR regulations resulting in the implied kind of severe restrictions or an outright ban, to the point where there are virtually no houses in the marketplace for tourists to rent (more on that later). And the fears of a regulation-induced reduction in revenue have been convincingly debunked elsewhere–STRs are almost impossible to effectively tax, they displace lodging jobs, and survey respondents elsewhere have widely (95%+) expressed that the presence or absence of STRs has little effect on travel plans (https://www.epi.org/publication/the-economic-costs-and-benefits-of-airbnb-no-reason-for-local-policymakers-to-let-airbnb-bypass-tax-or-regulatory-obligations/).
But the arguments do bring up the important question: How many tourists can a healthy community accommodate? During peak times, lodging becomes overbooked even in the largest tourist destinations in the world, especially post-Covid. And the law of “induced demand” tells us that if we build more, more will come, and so on, ad infinitum. That cannot possibly be the right approach for any community, from Venice, Italy to Honolulu, Hawaii to Old Forge, NY–which is why all of these places have, or in the latter case, should have, STR regulations (and larger comprehensive zoning and safety regulations as well, for that matter). Furthermore, while STRs can help homeowners shoulder the financial burdens of ownership, they also demonstrably contract housing supply and induce gentrification, which drives those same ownership costs up even more–again, an Ouroboros of a vicious circle.
And lastly, the admonition that “90%” of STR lessors are non-commercial should be setting off alarm bells. Without regulation, typically about 30% of STRs eventually come under commercial ownership. If Old Forge is not there already, they are not far off. And at that point the arguments for a laissez faire policy really starts to break down as commercial owners turn entire apartment complexes or neighborhoods into illegal, untaxed and unregulated hotels. That is what happened in NYC only a few years after the introduction of AirBnB, leading to the “AirBnB wars”, and, ultimately, to the passage of the State Multiple Dwelling Law. It’s high time to pass an upstate-focused “Single Dwelling Law”, and, in the meantime, we should be regulating on a local level.
In the end, I think that Adirondack hamets, where there is no mandated upper limit on development but very real space constraints, will each benefit from coming up with some hard numbers, particularly a maximum “carrying capacity” for STRs, either as a total number of units or as a maximum percentage of the housing supply. Getting those hard limits codified into law is an endeavor where few places have succeeded, but, nonetheless, it is in symbolic acts and an educated leadership that the fate of any community truly lies. It is no surprise to me that Cooperstown was ahead of the curve in that way, as it was an absolute dream to have had the privilege of spending my childhood there–all because of some very wise and forward thinking management (and the preservationism of the benefactors of the eponymous Cooper family) that still allows tourist and residential use to coexist in harmony. I cannot emphasize enough that we should all be looking to their example in the scorched-earth wargrounds that has become known as Adirondacks.
Why do you say “STRs are almost impossible to effectively tax?” They are taxing them right now in other places, and from what I read are raising $millions. Here’s one article about such a tax: https://www.mvtimes.com/2021/07/28/short-term-rental-revenues-smash-records/
And they’re taxing them in Colorado: https://coloradosun.com/2021/11/05/colorado-resort-town-voters-airbnb-vrbo-election/
Zephyr, immediately after posting, I thought that maybe “impossible” was a poor choice of wording that could take away from the fact that there nonetheless have been huge challenges involved with tax collection.
NYC has had a very hard time monitoring and taxing STRs, and AirBnB, as an internet corporation and hence protected by the federal Stored Communication and Communications Decency Acts, has used its status to fight them every step of the way (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/nyregion/nyc-airbnb-rentals.html, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/22/technology/new-york-passes-law-airbnb.html, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/nyregion/new-york-city-airbnb-crackdown.html, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/21/nyregion/hearing-pits-tenants-who-denounce-airbnb-against-those-who-profit-from-it.html, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/16/business/airbnb-listings-mostly-illegal-state-contends.html, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/23/nyregion/airbnb-nyc-law.html). It has been argued that as many as half of all AirBnB listings in the city, which was once the largest domestic market for AirBnB, are not even complying with State and City occupancy laws, let alone being properly taxed (https://www.law360.com/tax-authority/articles/1391199/airbnb-criticizes-nyc-bill-to-tighten-short-term-rental-rules, https://www.dropbox.com/s/u4s1fcync2gseyl/AirBnB_Report%20FINAL.docx?dl=0).
However, things are getting better, at least on the taxation front, as the legal landscape catches up and AirBnB ditches the rebel “sharing-economy” ethos. One big problem is that in many places owners must collect and remit room taxes themselves as “trust taxes”–obviously easy to enforce for traditional hotels, but difficult to enforce for STRs. One way to deal with that is through agreements to allow AirBnB to file on behalf of landlords, which is AirBnB’s de facto “solution” that they have advertised to the STR problem. Vermont entered into one such agreement in 2016, but their own legislative report is full of acknowledgements about the “lack of relevant data” (https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Legislative-Reports/2017-Act76-ShortTermRental.pdf). AirBnB has been pushing for such a law in New York State, Assembly Bill A7520 and Senate Bill S7182, but neither have cleared the legislature as of now. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/nyregion/airbnb-legislation-albany.html, https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/A7520, https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/s7182). For now, AirBnB remits taxes on behalf of lessors in about 36 NYS counties (including 6 out of the 12 Adirondack Park counties).
So, yes, it is a nuanced issue that I did not correctly represent, even here. (I was also in fact wrong that there have been no outright bans of STRs; Palma de Mallorca in Spain has done this and probably others.) But the question–“Aren’t STRs taxed though?”–is a highly problematic way of looking at the issue, because it does not consider the most consequential issues at stake. Going forward, we need to be wary of that tactic, used by AirBnB in their latest incarnation–the classic petitio principii “STRs are good because they are taxed”. Because, let’s face it, money can make political controversies go away, but all of the other problems will still remain and grow and fester.
You can’t compare NYC with the Adks in terms of the difficult of taxing STRs. There is no hiding or mystery who is renting or which homes are involved. That’s the beauty of small towns, and one of the problems. Everyone knows everyone else’s business! Personally, I think go for the property taxes and zoning first–if you rent you pay a different rate than if you live, and if you are doing STRs you pay another rate. If you run a business out of your home there are zoning rules that apply. We already give discounts to seniors on property taxes, so it is a tried and true method to encourage desired things (seniors staying in homes) and discourage undesired things. You can’t just open up a car repair business in your garage in most communities without meeting local zoning regs, so why is it any different if you run a STR business?
I’m surprised no one has mentioned how this effects locals who want to rent long term. It is almost impossible to find a house to rent long term in the Adirondacks, the only rentals are all short term vacation rentals. I grew up in the Adirondacks in exlusively long term rentals and now I’m looking to move out of the area because there aren’t any housing options anymore, never mind affordable ones. These short term rentals are another factor in driving young people away from the Adirondacks but I guess that’s par for the course here.
I can’t put into words adequately how disappointing it is to have retired to a quiet lakeside home in a row of retired neighbors to have the property next door become a STR full of 10-12 people weekly. I don’t get to know any of them but I get to bath and party with them all. I might as well as bought next to Water Safari. At least it would have been quiet at night.
Yes, Zephyr and Sierra! It can’t be restated enough, that communities need to plan, in order to protect through ordinance / zoning / incentivize through taxing / existing long-term rentals, in turn to reduce the extreme shortage we have of housing for low-income workers. All rural tourist areas in the U. S. have this problem which, if largely ignored as it has been here, will reach undesirable, unsustainable levels, where workers (once residents, now forced to live outside the region) have to commute over great distances. The DEIS for Gleneagles in Lake Placid documented this in the Adks, all over the NE and throughout the U.S.
These short term rentals are destroying our way of life in the towns and neighborhoods throughout the Adirondack park. There are somethings you just can’t put a dollar value on. It boils down to the almighty dollar and greed.
I certainly understand the concern about taxation but I also see a belief among some people in the Adirondacks that us tourists are not as welcome as we think that we need to be. I’ve read some comments on Facebook that tourists are more of a hindrance than anything else. I argued with a young woman from Saranac Lake, who works in a restaurant in Lake Placid, when she very strongly told me that I, and other tourists, are not welcome in LP. I contacted her employer and heard nothing. I’ve pointed out that, other than tourism, there is very little income for locals in the Adirondacks. I’ve overheard a cashier telling another local in front of me that she couldn’t believe that a Canadian tried to pay with Canadian dollars. I really should have interrupted the two of them to let them know that I’m a Canadian camping for a week in her area. That particular food store has gone under a couple of times. This particular hamlet has ZERO jobs other than in the tourism sector. Another owner of a store gave her employee hell, in front of me, for exchanging a jar of coins for a purchase. I had specifically asked the cashier if I could do it and she asked me to move to another part of the counter to avoid any customers that came along to which I had no issue… and then the owner came along. She’s been trying to sell that store for years… another village whose sole source of income is from tourism.
I’m flabbergasted that anyone would even use the word SOCIALIST in this discussion. Enough said.
Everyone knows this is a real problem for all the reasons stated. It is hoped that reasonable solutions, regulations, taxes and fees can be created to help level the playing field for other tourist accommodations as well as sensible limits on growth to maintain carrying capacity and quality of life for residents. What’s needed is strong effective political leadership and community involvement.
Neighbors not tourists. They tried that crap by my house and I live on a private road. I don’t live in the middle of nowhere so I can have a hotel next to me . Needless to say they aren’t here anymore. It was either them or me and I wasn’t leaving
Land use planning and regulation are specialized fields of endeavor with their own methodologies and body of knowledge. What is needed here is expert study and input. Unfortunately, most land use regulation in the U.S. runs afoul of the Fifth Amendment’s Takings clause. Just ask South Carolina what happened when scientific analysis lead to restricted development on that state’s sensitive barrier islands. Those who hated the APA now find themselves crying foul over another type of land use threatening the region. Well, well, well how times have changed!
These articles are not two sides of an argument. One shows the benefits of having short-term renters, and the other says that they should be regulated and taxed. To me, both are true.
I own a second home in the Town of Webb. I also own a company that supplies both hotels and large short term rental companies with operating supplies. This topic on a larger scale is an extremely “hot button” one and from what I’ve seen there is room for both, but the latter, the short term rental houses, needs far more regulation and has to be taxed. Why should established hotels in the Adirondacks be subject to decades of costly regulations, commercial insurance and nightly occupancy “bed” taxes while the short term rental owner isn’t? The (non-renting) taxpayers and certainly the hotel owners in the region deserve more from the local leaders and selfishly I hope Herkimer County and the Town of Webb elected officials get on board like those in Lewis County just did by taxing all short term rental income. Good luck and well said Mr. Hoepfl.
Absolutely not. I find this whole thing ridiculous. What I do with my property should not be regulated by everyone in town. As long as laws are being followed and no one I being hurt, why should my neighbors have a say in what is happening on my property. As far as what are short term leases doing for the community, I have to ask what are all of the people in that community doing for that community. There are always a few people that are active in the community. However, many residents do nothing to help the community other than pay taxes which is exactly what the short term rentals are doing with the added bonus of bringing in tourism which adds to the revenue for restaurants, stores, etc.
Absolutely not. I find this whole thing ridiculous. What I do with my property should not be regulated by everyone in town. As long as laws are being followed and no one I being hurt, why should my neighbors have a say in what is happening on my property. By the way short term rentals are taxed. We pay property and school taxes like everyone else. On too of that we have to charge the customer and 8% sales tax and 5% lodging tax for a total of 13% that is then passed on to the state. Where is everyone getting that shirt term rentals don’t pay tax. That is absolutely wrong. It is the same tax that you pay in a hotel. They only time you don’t pay tax is if it is a monthly rental but then the owner pays tax on that as taxable income when they do their taxes which they also pay on top of the 13% when they do their taxes. With every article that I see like this, I feel that another little price if freedom is being taken away and therefore a little part of the American dream.
What you do with your property is not your’s alone to determine. You are part of a community and you should have a sense of responsibility to your immediate neighbors and the wider community. There are regulations and restrictions on what you can build on your property, trash removal, noise regulations, nuisance ordinances and yes, taxes. We are in this together and you still have many rights. If your community enacts regulations affecting STRs you are not losing the American dream. You are part of a bigger enterprise where you can thrive.
In Lucas v. South Carolina, the state blocked Mr. Lucas from building on one acre of land he owned on the Carolina coastline. The state was trying to implement recommendations of a blue ribbon panel of experts who said greater building restrictions were need to protect sensitive barrier islands. Mr. Lucas disagreed and argued, as Ms. Hart does, that he had an absolute right to do with his land as he pleased. The United States Supreme Court agreed and South Carolina ended up paying Mr. Lucas for his one acre. Hence, sensible, much needed land use restrictions and protections, such as prohibitions against building in flood plains, can’t get done in the U.S. All those who opposed the APA on absolutist land use grounds will now find the tables turned on them as drunken hoards descend upon Adirondack hamlets via STRs. Lucas was a terrible decision justly criticized by everyone however the composition of the Supreme Court has since become worse and we can only expect more. Good luck regulating STRs. Ms. Hart has fired the first shot!!
Even in NY, we have the appellate decision FGL & L Property Corp. v. City of Rye: “it is a `fundamental rule that zoning deals basically with land use and not with the person who owns or occupies it'”, ergo, STR regulations face very strong headwinds.
This all highlights the need for APA to do their job more than ever. I think that there is a vague and distant world where all of us can be saved by an eclectic combination of restrictive zoning and anti-sprawl measures, geolibertarianism/Georgism, degrowth/de-marketing, and Canadian/Russian federation-style wilderness preservation. The NYS constitution, in theory, has gotten us halfway there. In practice, however, self-sabotage is our specialty in New York State.
I live within the Adirondack Park….I had to get permits from the APA, the tow, meet with the town supervisor, etc. all of which prevented me.from.building when I wanted to. Now there are people in certain areas, not mine yet, that want to change all of this. After following the law, doing everything I have to, why should I now be told that I have to do long term leases for housing instead of short term vacation rentals? Our place is neat, clean, mowed, trash taken care of etc. There are places all over the North Country that are is disrepair and nobody does anything about these places.unlessnyiu are going to take on all the other issues at the same time, stop trying to punish the landowners who are trying to make a little extra cash. This is not greed, it is part of the American dream.
You expect the investment in your home to be protected, the retiree expects the peaceful neighborhood he bought into to stay that way, the motel owner expects the special taxes he pays to allow his business to thrive: Think long and hard of the implications before advancing absolutist arguments like yours. They can backfire spectacularly: see,: Livestock feedlot opens next to retirement community, Spur Indus. v. Dele Webb Dev. Co., 108 Ariz. 178 (1971); Dog kennel opens next to County land Commissioner’s home, Schaecher v. Beuffault, 290 Va. 81 (2015), “Event venue” opens in the center of a peaceful residential neighborhood, Burton v. Glynn County, Sup. Ct. Ga. 2015. If your town has no land use control then ANYTHING can open next to your property, e.g. a hog farm and slaughterhouse, a rock crushing business, a sex shop, and your argument will be used against you to justify THEIR use. Planning and regulation benefits everyone. Be part of the process and participate in the decision making. A century ago the State made a far-sighted decision (backed by plenty of power and money) to preserve millions of acres of wilderness. That land now brings the tourists into towns like yours. But rampant development can destroy any place if we’re not careful. That’s why Land Use Planning is a specialty all unto itself.
The point is that if all rules are followed.and no laws are broken and you put a lot of money into something and all everyone around has received letters from the APA stating that this is happening, so you build and then after the fact people change their mind, the landowner should not be forced to change their original plan that they went through the proper channels to get. I couple of the cases you mentioned, people just did what they wanted to do without going through he proper channels channels and then we’re shut down when they were told they couldn’t do what they did. Not the same thing. It seems like lately people just complain about something, get a group of people together to get laws changed and then say to the land owner “oops sorry you can’t do that anymore.” People lose a ton of money and nobody seems to care about that as long as the law is changed to suit the people that want things their way.
I believe the way that many towns get around the problem of outsiders coming in, buying up property and the renting it out without any sense for the community is by limiting the number of days that it can be rented. Otherwise, when it is being rented, there should be a tax on renters.
That’s a regulatory taking of my property and the town will have to pay me compensation for limiting my use of my land. Thank you “Penn. Coal v. Mahon,” 260 U.S. 393 (1922) (A regulation that severely diminishes the value of private property amounts to a taking and requires compensation)(Holmes, J.).
Let’s get back to the original post that short term rentals are preventing people from getting housing. Limiting how many days per year you can rent a place is not going to allow for long term housing. The only thing that regulating how many days per year you can rent a place does is take money from the the owner. I have rented a lot of places on vacation and I have very infrequently encountered people being rude and disrespectful. I am not saying it doesn’t happen. I am just saying most people are respectful, don’t make a lot of noise, bring business into the area, and then go home without incident. There are people within my town and I am sure every town that live there year round and are bigger troublemakers than the people in short term rentals. What do you do with them?
And just so I am clear, I live across the street from one rental and less than half a mile from my other rentals. I am very involved and aware of what is going on at my rentals.
I am sympathetic. Vacation rentals are as old as the automobile, maybe older. What has changed? To my memory the only time second home rentals were a problem was when college frat houses were renting Vermont ski condominiums and throwing weekend long bashes that destroyed the property and drove neighbors crazy. Condominium boards quickly put an end to that with occupancy limits and age restrictions. Those condos were lucky to have full control over their members and the common areas. In the ADKs hearings should be held, testimony taken, experts consulted. A region-wide plan developed. Region-wide planning is the best way to regulate land. Oregon has a state-wide land use plan, so does Great Britain. It might surprise you that in England intensive development is limited to London. That keeps the country side rural. When the Underground is extended a Walmart can’t open in the suburbs and draw all the business away as has happened in NYC. When I was shopping for a house in the ADKs I found the existence of a region-wide land use plan great. I wondered why there wasn’t one for the entire state. For my money the Adirondacks are a rugged wilderness. If you want to live there you should be rugged too. Intensive development should be limited to the hamlets. If you want a place in the woods a permanent tent and outhouse should be your only option. Rainwater is your water source. No furnaces, septic tanks, electrical lines or cutting forests. This is the way affluent 19th Century vacationers “camped” (as did my folks up to the 1960s). If you’re too out of shape to walk, you shouldn’t be allowed to destroy the woods with an ATV. If you can’t ski, a guide should provide a dog sled which are so much quieter and enjoyable than a snowmobile. Land use regulation is good. “Mahon” and “Lucas” are dead wrong.
I am sorry we just need to agree to disagree. England is also the country that confiscated guns and melted them all down. I love to snowmobile, ,go four wheeling and side by siding. I also love hiking, kayaking fishing and hunting. I don’t destroy anyone ‘s land. Most people don’t. But, just like everything else you have the few that cause problems. The more freedoms that are taken away the more Socialist we become. I don’t think everyone needs to conform. I think there needs to be a compromise.
So Barbara, do you have an ideas on what to do about the lack of longterm rentals in the Adirondacks? The status quo isn’t working and the situation just gets worse every year. Younger workers are already voting with their feet and moving to places where they can afford to live and get good jobs. Some seem to say that’s just the way it is, but eventually you start to find situations where there aren’t enough snowplow or bus drivers, like some places in New York are already finding. If an area has no place to live, there will be no workers to deliver the mail, drive the plows, work at Stewarts, pump the gas, fix your roof when a tree falls on it. How long is that sustainable?
… England is a democracy, their schools are better than ours and they have one of the lowest crime rates in the world putting the lie to the idea that guns make a safer society.
It is important to consider that rental properties are becoming investment opportunities for outsiders.
All I know is that it’s amusing how quickly the conservatives in the Adirondacks try to enact the very policies that they claim to abhor as soon as they have an issue they don’t like. They see a problem with STR and immediately: Legislate new regulations! Create a new tax! Institute government “property taking” (which is exactly what happens when private property value is depressed by regulations and taxes)! Don’t allow our properties to be for sale on national level! Keep our young people here (even though in every part of the country young people have had to migrate to where the jobs are, and that isn’t upstate NY)! Yup. Everybody loves a free market economy, until they don’t. Kind of hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?
Well said K!
I’d like to hear a retort from some conservatives… or should I call it rationalization/malarkey.