By Katelyn Moskos
Every United States citizen has the right to “life, liberty and property.” For, as the Supreme Court of the United States has always recognized, “No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 8 (1968); citing Union Pacific Railway Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891).
Short-term rental laws are discriminating against certain property owners making laws specific to one property but not the other. Every person that rents short-term is still the sole property owner. Putting restrictions on certain homes is unjust. All of our rentals have a rental agreement that includes quiet hours, maximum occupancy for housing as well as parking, pet agreements which includes a copy of rabies vaccination, fire and safety as well as up to date systems. It is also my understanding that various other laws and codes already cover nearly all of this local law – occupancy rules, egress, electrical code, septic rules, fire code, etc. My question is this: What if a neighbor has a complaint for a non-rental home? Who do they call? How is this rectified? The answer is, it is not. How is that fair? If you neighbor a rental, you get complaints taken care of, but not for an owner-occupied home, why? Therefore, if I were to have a complaint regarding my neighbor that is owner-occupied, I can do nothing.
Speaking only for Northern Living: I think it is important to address the fact that we have always been upfront with everything about our business. Everything has been permitted and/or disclosed, ie. Number of people sleeping in the rental overnight, any structural changes we have made, our rates, etc. I have always been, and intend to continue to be, upfront with my business because I have nothing to hide. I run this business within the guidelines allowed. Everything regarding my homes has been up to code and approved by the county. All of our septic systems have been updated to accommodate the amount of people we sleep, etc. All of my houses have cameras to monitor everyone’s safety. At all our rental homes, we cater to all our neighbors to ensure they are not bothered by our renters or our normal business. We have always made it a point to communicate with them, and provided contact information, in the event they need to notify us of anything. We have responded promptly and rectified whatever it was within minutes.
The proliferation of short-term rentals is a benefit to the community, not a burden. Speaking only for Northern Living, it has taken dilapidated properties and transformed them into beautiful residences, increasing the value of not only those properties but the values of neighboring properties, strengthening both the housing stock and the residential property tax base in the Town. Counties have also established bed taxes, making it so any type of short term rental pays a tax (Airbnb’s, hotels, etc), bringing in another type of revenue for surrounding towns.
Short-term rentals bring people to the community, supporting local businesses and employing local residents.
The benefits are several, the burdens few.
Even if you don’t own a rental, this should scare you. A freedom taken away is one that you rarely ever get back. They don’t remove laws and give us more freedom, they slowly take it away, one law at a time. If this law were to pass, what’s next?
— Katelyn Moskos is the Owner of Northern Living NY, based in Lake George. She’s also an organizer of “Hands off our Homes,” a group opposed to short-term rental laws in Fort Ann: https://www.handsoffourhomes.com. (Artwork provided by Hands off our Homes)