Legislations limiting homeowners’ right to rent in the US and abroad
In these difficult times we tend to educate ourselves and read about laws which have been passed or contemplated in other US cities and abroad to limit the ability of homeowners to rent short term.
I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Marie Reine Jézéquel and I am the owner and founder of New York Habitat, a company that offers vacation rentals, furnished apartments and rooms for rent in New York, Paris, London and the South of France , one of many companies that will be greatly and adversely affected if the proposed legislation banning rentals under 30 days passes.
Last May, I attended the HomeAway Owner’s Summit in Austin. Homeaway had prepared discussion panels raising awareness on a lot of subjects so that owners could get informed about issues facing vacation rental owners and enhance the marketing of they property. One topic on the agenda was: Protecting Your Property Rights.
They had a panel of speakers informing the audience on this important issue: The speakers were homeowner Stephen Milo, attorney Richard Rumrell [the following blog regarding property rights is hosted by Richard Rumrell: http://blog.rumrelllaw.com/propertyrights] and HomeAway co-founder Carl Shepherd.
Little did I know that New York would now be faced with this very issue, with proposed legislation banning vacation rentals of under 30 days now awaiting the Governor’s approval.
During the Homeaway Q/A session, a Venice Florida case was presented where homeowner Stephen Milo had successfully won a battle with his municipality.
The city of Venice Florida agreed to pay Milo’s group $300,000 in settlement for attorney fees and the diminution in value of properties, and allow the dozen property owners who brought suit to continue renting their properties on a short term basis for 15 more years. [A press release dated August 2009 regarding the settlement reached can be seen at: http://www.prleap.com/pr/139147]. [See the complaint filed by Stephen Milo and eight other plaintiffs against the City of Venice, Florida: [http://www.veniceflorida.com/features/pdf/short-term-filedcomplaint.pdf]
A young eloquent man by the name of Justin Butterworth [https://www.occupancy.com] [http://www.takeabreak.com.au/profiles.htm] then took the microphone and explained his tale on this same subject to a very attentive audience. You could have heard a pin drop as everyone listened intently to him speak about how he is addressing similar issues in Australia.
He said “property owners have nothing to fear from the quality of their service or property presentation, the only thing they should fear is their own inaction. Property owners must work together to present data showing the net benefits and minimal disturbances rather than engaging in emotional debate.“
Justin continued to suggest 3 questions:
– First, what is the nature and number of disturbances?
– Second, what is the net economic benefit to the community in terms of jobs, tourism and social contributions?
– and third, is legislation required or can the industry through best practice guidelines and self regulation meet stakeholder needs?
Justin has opened discussion and engaged the Planning Department, State Tourism bodies, Local Councils, other major website portals, Real Estate Agent associations, consumers and property owners, as well as the media. While the issue is far from resolved, a more informed discussion has developed in Australia.
When his company Rent-A-Home.com.au later won the 2006 Telstra Business Award, awarded by the Australian government for his innovative online technique and outreach, he used the platform to ask them to reconsider their position on vacation rental bans.
Justin recounted his tale to the group of HomeAway vacation rental owners gathered at this conference last May and advised everyone to team up and get involved before and after the law passes. The strength of an owner community can really make a difference. With the Internet, owners groups are now springing up to protect their rights and choose how long they will rent their property out for.
CEO & Founder
New York Habitat