Don’t let NJ city take Airbnb away — Step 5 to fix NJ (Opinion)
The very idea that the politicians in Jersey City are on an all-out assault on homeowners and investors speaks to what is wrong in New Jersey.
The city government is trying to effectively ban Airbnb hosts from making money by eliminating the current system pushed by Mayor Steve Fulop in 2015. Airbnb allows homeowners and investors to take advantage of a growing trend in vacation rentals and housing by monetizing their properties for short-term rentals
Voters will be asked Nov. 5 whether to keep regulations passed by the Jersey City Council (with Fulop's support) in June. Some of the components of the new law ban rentals in buildings with four or more units ... which would shut down the ability for thousands of homeowners just trying to make ends meet.
There are between 2,500 ad 3,100 homeowners who take advantage of the app=driven income created by this innovative company. This past summer, more than 94,000 visitors came to the city to stay, and presumably spend money locally. Homeowners took in around $17 million. If we're gonna fix New Jersey, it starts with not allowing government elites to shut down a very important part of the private housing market.
They will tell you there are no rules, that renters trash homes and create havoc in the neighborhoods because they are unsupervised. The argument, of course, makes no sense. First of all, there are already plenty of ordinances in place limiting the number of people in residential dwellings, controlling noise and regulating trash. Secondly, the homeowner who rents their place out has an interest in keeping it clean for the next tenants. And there are public ratings on the site for both hosts and guests. So everyone has an incentive to be on best behavior. The market is simply ahead of the politicians' ability to regulate.
New Jersey is increasingly becoming affordable for most middle- and working- class families, and Airbnb creates a new option for those who are diggin' in.
Even in the case of investors who bought property specifically for short-term renters ... so what? Better to have buildings owned, occupied and refurbished instead of the potential of them falling into disrepair or vacant as we've seen in other waterfront cities like Camden and Trenton.
So if you want to continue helping people afford to make ends meet in Jersey, and you live in Jersey City, please vote NO on the ballot question, toss out the new regulations, and stop the political insiders from hurting working families.