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Should Seaside Park Consider an ‘Airbnb Ordinance’ to Regulate Short-Term Rentals?

The Seaside Park water tower at Decatur Avenue prior to maintenance, Oct. 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The Seaside Park water tower at Decatur Avenue prior to maintenance, Oct. 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

Seaside Park officials have occasionally discussed the notion of promulgating an ordinance that would regulate short-term rentals in town, commonly known as an “Airbnb ordinance” after the popular short-term rental smartphone app.

Ordinances would not ban the use of the app or any like it, but would set a minimum duration for a legal rental in the borough. Such ordinances have been adopted by many Jersey Shore towns in recent years – including Point Pleasant Beach and Asbury Park  – and are extremely common in Florida and other resort areas. The goal of such an ordinance is to cut down on “party houses” where a home is rented for a night or two so a large party can be hosted there, sometimes to the chagrin of neighbors who deal with the resulting noise on a weekly basis.

“In the Covid crisis, we actually had an Airbnb ban, but it had a sunset clause,” said Mayor John Peterson. “Afterwards, we brought it up again, and we have a difference of opinion from some people in town.”

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While some homeowners oppose any regulation at all, others favored a one-week minimum rental period while still others supported a three-week rental minimum.

Cheryl Johnson, a borough resident, brought the issue up to the council at a recent meeting, saying a home in her neighborhood was being utilized as a short-term rental, causing a disturbance among neighbors.

“We have a few that are Airbnbs, they’re definitely under 25,” she said, referring to the age of the tenants. “So they come from the weekend and then roll out. If you look at other Shore towns’ ordinances, most of them are a week.”

Johnson said she knows other homeowners in town who list their homes on the app-based service, but voluntarily require week-long stays or more, effectively eliminating the problem.

“I think if we put those guidelines in place, it would be a great start,” she said. “And if we put in place what Point Pleasant and Asbury are doing, we wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Point Pleasant began restricting short-term rentals in an ordinance passed in Dec. 2021. Their ordinance bans stays of less than seven days between May 15 and Sept. 30 each year, and prohibits stays of 30 days or less in the off-season.

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