West New York adopts ordinance banning short-term rentals, despite concerns from local Airbnb hosts

Residential properties on the West New York waterfront
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Residential properties on the West New York waterfront

WEST NEW YORK — Short term vacation rentals, of 30 days or less, will be banned in West New York, after the town’s Board of Commissioners adopted an ordinance at their Jan. 18 meeting. The measure is largely a response to numerous complaints officials received regarding people using Airbnb, the popular short-term rental listing service, in town.
It also is an effort to preserve the town’s limited housing stock, given that it is only 1.3 square miles and has an estimated 54,000 residents.
But the agreement didn’t come before at least five local Airbnb hosts urged the board to better regulate the rentals, as opposed to banning them outright.
Mayor Felix Roque and the commissioners signaled they would be open to such regulation down the line, but needed to respond to resident complaints now.
“Thank you for educating me a lot about Airbnb,” Roque told the hosts, after they spoke. “And there might be a way, down the road, that we could sit down and try to make this a reality for West New York. I saw the bad part of Airbnb. Now, we’re seeing the other side. I would love to revisit this, as soon as I get more information.”
West New York native Christopher Appelgren struggled to pay property taxes on his family house in town, which he purchased many years ago. Therefore, he began hosting Airbnb users to compensate. “I have to say, it’s been an incredible help for my family,” Appelgren told the commissioners, during the ordinance’s public hearing section. “I think that instead of banning Airbnb, maybe we can look at a solution that can help the town.”
He floated the idea of adding an additional tax on those renting their properties to Airbnb users: “It would alleviate the property taxes for the rest of the town, which cost a lot.”
For the full story, pick up the next edition of the West New York Reporter.