Jessica Brothers first came to Saranac Lake about 15 years ago, first for the Winter Carnival, then college, and then she never left.
“When I first moved here … you could find a decent place for $600-700 a month, and it would be pet-friendly and everything included,” Brothers said.
She has rented several apartments in town during her time here, and always had animals with her. But in recent years, Brothers said she’s seen rents rise rapidly and outpace local wages.
“All of this is no pets and nothing included now,” Brothers said.
One reason for that, in her view, is the growth of vacation rentals in the region. Many landlords now see short-term rentals as a more lucrative option, and some long-term rentals have driven up their price as well.
Brothers would know: She works part-time as a cleaner for an Airbnb in Saranac Lake owned by a friend who says she couldn’t afford to rent the apartment to long-term tenants. And now that the pandemic has made real estate a seller’s market, some property owners are cashing in, turning houses over to Airbnb investors.
“It’s caused the rental crisis to skyrocket,” Brothers said.
She still has a strong desire to stay in the village, and would like to see the village protect its long-term residents by regulating the short-term market or creating a land trust.
— Mike De Socio