Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Short-term rental fans & foes

By Mark Frost, Chronicle Editor

The Chronicle Question of the Week to our digital subscribers on March 9 was: Have you ever stayed in an AirBnb or other short term rental? How was it? Do you think they’re good or bad for a community? Why?

Beware, Glens Falls!

Without regulation air bnb’s can ruin a neighborhood. The hamlet of Bolton Landing has been totally bought up by second home owners that rent them out when not using them. This has left no affordable housing for young families. Eventually, this will lead to unhealthy demographics, no school population, no volunteer firemen, etc. Short term rentals makes for partying groups such as at Glen Lake and Bolton and changes the ambience of a neighborhood. Beware Glens Falls.

— W Burkowski, Bolton

‘We always use VRBO’

We always use VRBO [vacation rental by owner] when we travel south to Florida and Georgia. Love it! Cheaper than most hotels and we have never had a bad experience. Always clean and accommodating. Great for bringing people in for tourism. Many people are now looking for an alternative to the standard hotel and are looking for a unique experience.

— Darlene Urbonowicz Glens Falls

The pluses and minuses

The ABNB was in Gatlinburg TN. It was amazing and unique at the base of a waterfall. It was the second one we rented as we rented one pre COVID, got postponed a year and the original rental was sold during COVID.

Short term rentals are good because often people buy cheap, refurbish and then rent which helps delinquent properties. Also renters are usually paying good money so they are clean, quiet folks. And no new kids for the schools.

My development in LL [Lake Luzerne] is selling to several ABNB companies and the downside is lots of strangers and you don’t get to “know your neighbors.” Also I’m not sure about how ABNB are taxed. Bed tax? So I’m not sure if they help or hurt that part of a town.

— Janice Weeks, Lake Luzerne

Miami & Glen Lake: Nice

We stay at Air B&B, when we travel out of the USA. It has always been a great experience. We enjoy having an apartment with a washer, so we do not have to pack too many clothes and the ability to make our own breakfast and sometimes dinner. It is also nice to have the space in an apartment rather than a small hotel room.

We have only stayed once in the U.S. in Salem, Mass. It was an upstairs apartment where the owner lived downstairs and that was also a great experience. We are very respectful tenants when we stay at someone’s apartment.

We also live across the street, when in Miami, from a house that is now an Air B&B. Overall the tenants that have been there have been good but occasionally it is a problem.

Living on Glen Lake in the summer we have had summer renters next door to us who have always been great neighbors.

I also want to point out that the person who started the air B&B platform and business is originally from Niskayuna, go upstate NY.

— Dave Palladino, Glen Lake & Miami

‘We really enjoy them’

We’ve stayed in several airbnb’s, mostly on the coast of Maine, but down south as well. Each offered their own unique experience — none of them bad! We have really enjoyed them; one even hooked us up with a private lobster fishing trip that will always be one of my favorite experiences! I’m glad these homes/rentals exist, however I can see where in more private neighborhoods they may be unwelcome. Where we tend to be quiet, and stick to ourselves, I can see where others who are renting may not be quite so considerate. I think it depends on the area, and what type of events/tourism that the rental draws.

— Jody Rae Higgins, South Glens Falls

Don’t want it next door

If you wouldn’t want it next door, it’s not good for the community as a whole. Right?

— Paul Cordes, Queensbury

Regulate for both sides

I believe they can be good for generating business and sales tax. As long as the town administrators set guidelines. They are popping up in residential areas where people have lived for decades and the increase in traffic and noise. Again, some kind of regulation needs to work for both sides.

— Danielle Robichaud, Warrensburg

Open to an outright ban


I have stayed in an AirBnb. I’ve stayed a couple times. They’re comfortable and usually quite convenient.

Unfortunately, they are being bought up by larger investors and have even displaced normal tenants in places like NYC and LA. A beautiful house on my road was purchased and converted into an AirBnb recently. Now I have to drive by their sign every morning and remember that even though we have a shortage of affordable housing in the area, we still have room for investors who don’t care about our community.

Not only do they take up housing for locals but when outside investors rent out these properties the money directly leaves our community. I wouldn’t be opposed to an outright ban on short-term rental properties.

— Dan, Lake George

Faults Luzerne legislation

Mark,

It’s been quite the debate in Luzerne regarding STRs and appreciate your taking the time to put a brief spotlight on them.

AirBnBs/short-term rentals have decimated the Adirondack housing situation for locals. I learned this while researching the topic as a Luzerne resident.

The Town Board of Luzerne is currently proposing very weak legislation of this type of house rental, despite having access to information related to many other Adirondack towns who passed weak legislation — and then watched their schools close, affordable housing completely disappear, and taxes rise.

Now those towns are literally backpedaling to figure out how to fix the problems created by their initially-weak legislation.

In Luzerne, the plan is to let short-term rentals continue to be freely allowed in all areas of town including in purely residential areas. There will be no limit on how many can exist in Luzerne. This is even despite them being run as businesses.

The Luzerne law requires a minimum stay of only two nights, which is a revolving door of strangers. It also does not address the Megan’s Law loophole that allows a grace period of 10 days before a sex offender has to register at a short-term rental.

One short-term rental owner in Luzerne runs at least seven rentals; how is that not a business, when that owner also pays the same Warren County Occupancy Tax that hotels and motels pay?

It will be a very unfortunate loss in many ways for the people of Luzerne if the Town Board approves this new legislation that does exactly what has not worked for so many other Adirondack towns.

— Barb Venerus, Lake Luzerne

It’s ‘community specific’

The short term rental business is largely operated through AirBNB and VRBO. We have stayed at many AirBNBs, and a couple VRBOs.

Generally, our stays have been very satisfactory! The short term rentals provide an option outside the hotel business, and many times, you can get a much better deal, and a location more specific to what you want to do. (Of course, regular hotels have their benefits, as well.)

We have stayed at short term rentals for one night (on the way to somewhere), and also for 2-3 weeks, at a destination. The destination stays often feature the benefit of a locally knowledgeable host (what a concierge used to do, when hotels had real concierges).

We have had a few stays that were “weird,” “dingy,” etc. But that’s largely avoidable if you study the listings carefully.

Of course I fully understand the issues that short term rentals can create in local communities. That’s something for each community to work out for itself, based on their housing situation, tourist traffic, etc.

Short term rentals MAY take away housing that could help lower income folks. And short term rentals MAY create problems due to rowdy renters. But also, short term rentals MAY keep money in the community that would otherwise flow to big hotel conglomerates. What works or does not work for this market is VERY community specific.

— Tom DuBois, Keene

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