The Jersey City branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced its opposition to Jersey City’s short-term rental regulations and encouraged its members and all Jersey City residents to VOTE NO on Municipal Question 1 on Nov. 5.
Municipal Question 1 asks residents if they want to uphold additional regulations placed on short-term rentals originally approved by the council in June.
The ordinance prohibits short-term rentals for more than 60 days in properties where the owner does not live onsite. It prohibits short-term rentals entirely in buildings with more than four units.
Renters are not allowed to serve as short-term rental hosts.
To operate a short-term rental under the ordinance, property owners are required to obtain a permit through the city’s Division of Housing Preservation. Each permit is valid for one year and must be renewed annually.
The ordinance phases out existing short-term rental contracts on Jan. 1, 2021.
Citing low vacancy rates for long-term rentals, the ordinance says, “It is in the public interest that short-term rental uses be regulated in order to help preserve housing for long-term tenants and to minimize any potential deleterious effects of short-term rental properties on other properties in the surrounding neighborhoods.”
The Jersey City NAACP supported the short-term rental community’s effort — backed by Airbnb — to put the ban on the ballot, circulating petitions and helping to collect more than 20,000 signatures.
“By targeting the 70 percent of Jersey City residents who are tenants -the majority of whom are people of color – this ban amounts to nothing more than economic discrimination, plain and simple,” said Rev. Nathaniel B. Legay, president of the NAACP Jersey City branch in a press release. “Even worse, it will promote the Tale of Two Cities that has long existed here, satisfying the few while leaving the rest of us who rely on the short-term rental economy hung out to dry. Along with our strong belief in the importance of this issue, we feel especially called to stand up for justice now, given the ugly political harassment that short-term rental hosts of color have experienced throughout this campaign, simply for speaking out for their rights and livelihoods and their right to vote. When we fight, we win, and that’s why we are calling on Jersey City to join us in voting no this November.”
Graeme Zielinski, spokesperson for the Keep Our Homes campaign which launched the petition to get the question on the ballot, said, “The short-term rental community is grateful for the NAACP Jersey City branch’s moral example and witness against economic exclusion and racial justice as they advocate for a NO vote on Nov. 5.”