No more transient rentals

No more transient rentals

Story By: STAFF WRITER
12/17/2015


A disturbing situation was brought to light at Tuesday’s Islip Town board meeting that involved making money by renting private homes on a short-term basis. Short-term means any rental that is less than 14 days. Thankfully, that practice was banned from the town through the passing of a resolution that was introduced by Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt.

This resolution, however, exempts homes on Fire Island—a major vacation destination—where short-term rental has long been established and is not only accepted but also expected by neighbors. The issue that was highlighted at the meeting involved a residential neighborhood in Bayport. Councilwoman Bergin Weichbrodt said she received numerous calls from upset residents about a house in their area that was being used in this way. Neighbors complained about the renters causing diminished quality of life, especially when the rented properties were used to throw large parties such as weddings.

That’s just not right.

The practice of providing short-term rental of private residences as an alternative to hotels was jump-started in San Francisco in 2008 when the website Airbnb was introduced. The more reasonably priced rental accommodations that were featured on the site were more appreciated in places that seemed to lack hotel/motel businesses. In the last seven years, as the site’s popularity increased, so did its revenue. Airbnb has now grown to almost a $20 billion business and has spawned similar websites such as HomeAway.com and VRBO.

No doubt there is a market for this service in large cities and places that are considered vacation destinations, but that certainly should not be the case in a suburban neighborhood. Those who reside year round in AAA or AA residential zoned districts and pay the taxes accompanying that privilege expect a certain level of privacy, safety and security that could be severely compromised if they become randomly located adjacent to this type of a business. 

There’s no reason to infringe on anyone’s lifestyle and also cause diminished home values by renting out a private home on a short-term basis. There are now a number of respectable hotel chains in Islip Town where visitors can stay.  And as a result of this new town code, the owners of the rental property will now need to find another way to make money other than off the backs of their neighbors.