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Hamptons Life

Jun 19, 2017 12:24 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton Town May Consider Looser Rental Code Allowing For Airbnb, VRBO Short-Term Rentals

Airbnb in Southampton Town.
Jun 19, 2017 12:36 PM

Southampton Town officials recently said the town may one day change rental laws to allow residents to list their homes for short-term rentals on websites like Airbnb and VRBO—but for now the practice is illegal with only a few exceptions.

There are certain circumstances that allow for short-term rentals in the town, said Southampton Town Attorney James Burke. If a home is owner-occupied, up to two bedrooms can be rented in the house. However, that rental has to be at least two weeks long and can occur only twice per season. A full house rental requires homeowners to get an additional rental permit through the town, although that too is subject to the two-week minimum stay.

“Part of it is to try and have stability,” explained Mr. Burke of the local ordinance. “Here, we’re blessed that it’s a place where people want to go, but it can be a burden on the surrounding neighborhood, sometimes.”

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the restrictions in the town code may need to be reviewed to strengthen the rental market and allow for more legal rentals from sites like Airbnb.

“I look at Airbnb the same way I look at Uber,” the supervisor said, referring to the ride-sharing company. “This is the future—but people have to comply with the law.”

Many are not complying, as of now, Mr. Burke noted. On Airbnb’s website there are more than 300 listings for Southampton Town alone, most allowing for weekend stays at homes. According to Mr. Burke, local authorities on the East End commonly use listings on websites like Airbnb to sniff out illegal rentals. However, they cannot levy fines based only on the listing and must prove that a house is being rented for a term that violates the ordinance.

The fines are hefty—homeowners can be charged as much as $30,000 for rental violations. Southampton has, at times, levied fines upward of $100,000 against chronic violators of rental restrictions.

Mr. Burke said that he suspects in the future the town will allow for short-term rentals, potentially based on location, giving preference to properties in remote locations where a turnover of renters would not have an impact on the surrounding community.

Both men cautioned about the potential risks associated with tampering with the code. Mr. Schneiderman said although he is favor of looking at the town’s laws on rentals, his main concern is still to protect the neighbors.

“It can’t be a commercial use,” he said. “I’m more concerned about the person that rents for entire summer as a grouper home or a share house party than I am with weekend families.”

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What happens now if a HOMEOWNER has a loud party and violates noise and decency laws...fined and somewhat punished. If it is a rental, the same applies. Renters are not the problem, how people act is. Air bnb and VRBO is a great source of income to offset expenses. I have lived next to a rental, no issues. They need to ease up the laws. Just as LYFT and UBER need to be here.
By The Real World (363), southampton on Jun 19, 17 3:06 PM
let's keep our residential areas residential please.

living next to de-facto hotels can be a nightmare
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (682), southampton on Jun 19, 17 4:56 PM
2 members liked this comment
Why not 2-3 night minimum, up to 2 weeks.
By Infoseeker (274), Hampton Bays on Jun 19, 17 5:44 PM
Very bad idea. It will bring more people who under current circumstances are not here. Think about what it will do to beaches, restaurants, roads, etc.
By all seasons (9), southampton on Jun 19, 17 5:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why not 2-3 night minimum, up to 2 weeks.
By Infoseeker (274), Hampton Bays on Jun 19, 17 6:04 PM
you can't compare uber with airbnb. One impacts roads(uber) the other impacts both roads, neighborhoods, overcrowding, etc. Their is a reason why NYC doesn't allow this.
By all seasons (9), southampton on Jun 19, 17 6:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
It's not a problem until it's your neighbor. Imagine it's 1am and the "house" get's back from the bar. "Splash" everyone into the pool! whooh, whhooh! Yeah, shots! Let's get naked! Cops don't care, code is a joke so you're basically SOL. Lived it...
By lirider (270), Hampton Bays on Jun 19, 17 11:26 PM
3 members liked this comment
Allowing more short term rentals will hurt locals who are interesting in purchasing a home near where they grew up and have a detrimental effect on existing residential neighborhoods by turning them into groups of commercialized inventory.

Maybe if i start a website that allows homeowners to turn their properties into Dog Kennels , Restaurants, nightclubs, or storage centers I can make big bucks too!
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (682), southampton on Jun 20, 17 11:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
Oh gracious Schneiderman! Let me rent to nice folk from the city for a couple a weeks so I can pay my ever rising taxes so that you use to hire your friend for $180,000/year to build subsidized housing so that more kids can be imported into school districts with high administration and health insurance costs so we can pay more taxes.

Short term rentals are necessary, subsidized housing is not. Only permitting long term rentals means folks rent to families of 32, 30 of which go to the local ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jun 20, 17 12:04 PM
Short-term rentals bring more business to the towns.
By Infoseeker (274), Hampton Bays on Jun 21, 17 10:19 PM
Short term rentals mean , lets cram as many people as we can into this house bc normally we cant afford it on our own or we bc we dont want to rent an extra house for our staff. We want a party house to disrupt the local neighbors who wake at 6am for a 10 hour work day. They sure do bring business to the town...go buy beer , alcohol and food. Go bar hopping, call uber , an repeat. Do we really need this? Replace thses short term rentals with local families an it will generate more business that ...more
By toes in the water (839), southampton on Jun 23, 17 7:14 AM
Toes in the water, head in the sand. "Replace these short term rentals with local families?" At what cost? Either you are new to the area or choose to not remember the not too distant past. In one of the most short-sighted political gaffes of all time Southampton Town passed legislation effectively doing away with group rentals...so they thought.

All over town houses which used to accommodate groups of students and young working people a couple of months a year were legislated out ...more
By VOS (1195), WHB on Jun 24, 17 4:22 AM
VOS , u prob rely on rental income with your head in the sand. I'm simply someone who's aware of the lack of affordable housing. Aware of the college kids who dont return after graduating college, Aware of the rental groups. Aware of the changes that have occurred. Born an raised in Southampton and eyes wide open.
By toes in the water (839), southampton on Jun 24, 17 8:23 AM
Wrong again. I have no rental properties nor do I have any interest in businesses affected by the loss of income from the decline of visitors due to the actions of the town.

I also decry the paucity of suitable rental properties for local people, particularly our young but putting a further damper on summer visitors will be detrimental to business and summer jobs many of our young seek and have no positive affect on the year-round rental market.
By VOS (1195), WHB on Jun 24, 17 2:29 PM
Really? The bulk of the summer jobs are filled by people who come here for the sole purpose to work for the summer. When summers over the jobs are no longer needed to be filled by the local younger generation. Are you aware that we are summer tourist community now. Good luck finding work in the winter kids!! Not many locals left here to support the local business' in the winter. So we're supposed to encourage the tourists to come year round rather than find ways to keep the locals here?? Wrong! ...more
By toes in the water (839), southampton on Jun 26, 17 6:51 AM
Your attitude that this is, and should be, only a summer tourist community is what has gotten us into the current untenable situation. Of course we can extend the season for visitors and AirBnB is a perfect tool to use in that endeavor.

There would be no need to import seasonal employees if it was easier for local people to maintain decent affordable housing year round. Talk to some of your local business owners over there in Southampton about the summer season. Twenty years ago it ...more
By VOS (1195), WHB on Jun 26, 17 4:05 PM
your hilarious lady. How could MY attitude have anything to do with this place turning into a summer community ? Extend the tourist season?? Are you insane? I remember 20 years ago , and it was absolutley beautiful. And when you have an area that becomes a tourist attraction, you always need extra employees for the summer. My point, head in the sand, is that the bulk of these jobs are now filled by seasonal summer workers bc the local people are being pushed out. As far as the rental season, it ...more
By toes in the water (839), southampton on Jun 28, 17 7:14 AM
No, tourists go out more because they are here to have a good time. They eat out in restaurants and yes, they also go to bars. This area is going downhill, because of this mentality to hinder the tourism industry from making a living and sustain existing year-round.
By Infoseeker (274), Hampton Bays on Jun 23, 17 10:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
AirBnB has an elaborate review system for potential renters -- not like the pig in the poke rentals of the 80's and 90's. Also lots of European tourists and families. How is this bad for our community? Forcing annual rentals means tons of kids in a Hampton Bays school system that is paying $40,000 per kid per year -- and sending none of them on to the best SUNY colleges let alone any top ten schools.
By dfree (743), hampton bays on Jun 25, 17 2:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
What a dumb idea. We don't need more people here. There are days in August when it is catastrophically crowded
By SlimeAlive (1180), Southampton on Jun 26, 17 6:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
We don't need short term rental solutions - we need long term living affordability solutions
By even flow (831), East Hampton on Jun 26, 17 7:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
If the Town would enforce the zoning for motel/hotels, we would not need the let the rental to go below 2 weeks. They don't want to address the real issue and instead just use circular logic to circumvent it.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jun 27, 17 1:10 PM