The East Hampton Town Board opened discussion to the public about a proposed new Rental Registry Law that fails miserably in achieving its goals.
Over the last couple of years there have been a growing number of complaints from residents of overcrowding of single family homes that had been rented out during the summer season. These complaints are generally in response to loud, late night parties which tend to occur in houses that are rented, and then re-rented as share houses by a younger aged subset of tenants. Local law forbids the selling of shares, or partial rentals, of single family homes. In addition there are limitations as to how many unrelated people can occupy a home as well as the absolute number of occupants based upon the number of bedrooms.
The Town Board was called upon to address the issue and now a proposed new law is being discussed. In our view the proposed law does nothing to address the issue of share houses and overcrowding, much less disturbing the peace. What it does manage to do is create an entire new set of burdens on Landlords, who, in the event of non-compliance with the proposed Registry requirements could expose them to fines, or worse.
Here is the basic idea behind the proposal…Landlords would be required to register their rental business with the Town, which in turn would give the Landlord a registration number. This registration number would be required to be included in any advertising of the property (which on the surface doesn’t make any sense, as properties that are available for rent are generally advertised before they are rented, that is before they are even eligible for a registration number.) Here’s what’s included on the application:
This information would provide an as of now yet to be created new level of bureaucracy in local government the core information required to monitor the frequency at which homes are rented. Current law permits not more than two rentals of 14 days or less twice during a 6 month period. In addition Landlords would be required to submit affidavits attesting to their compliance with all codes. On top of all this there may be a fee for the registration. In addition any subsequent rental will require obtaining a new registration number. It’s all silly and a waste of time and energy and does nothing to solve the problems meant to be addressed.
The proper way to handle late night parties and over crowding is to call the police and code enforcement. The rules are already on the books, they just need to be enforced, there is no reason to create a whole new level of regulations and record keeping.
There is one thing that we have always felt and that is the limitations on short term rentals should be eased. Our season is short and the trend over the last few years has been toward shorter term rentals, there is a lot greater demand for weekly rentals than there is for the more traditional Memorial Day to Labor Day. Allowing shorter term rentals does not increase congestion. What it would do is bring fresh wallets to our economy, more frequently. This is something that would be of tremendous benefit to local merchants who need to make all they can during the summer months in order to survive the lean off season.