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Short Term Rentals in Hudson - Special workshop

November 12th special workshop – Short term rentals My apologies that this is later than I would typically post an update. This special workshop had to do specifically with short term rentals in Hudson (VRBO, AirBnB – style rentals). As most people are aware, we recently had an incident in East Hudson Hills with between 300 and 400 attendees at a home used for short term rentals. I will not get into every detail, but I do want to cover the pro / con arguments presented. Several owners who operate short term rentals both inside Hudson and outside of town, but are residents here with a vested interest in the survival of this industry, spoke for limited legislation, or no legislation, permitting them to operate their businesses. The primary arguments in support of this were 1) landowner rights to do with your property what you see fit and 2) income – operation and survival of their businesses. Many residents who were directly impacted by this incident spoke out as well. The primary arguments brought forth were 1) they thought they lived in a residential neighborhood, not next to a hotel or commercial business 2) the nature of a residential neighborhood is forever changed when short term renters with no vested interest in property cleanliness or neighborly concerns (noise / litter) know they will only be there a couple days and never feel the repercussions of what occurred during their stay (they wont return / don’t live there) and 3) danger associated with bringing strangers in and the risk of parties such as this. The owners of short-term rentals felt as though they were victims of this kind of party activity because they need to repair damage to their homes after the incident. That is true. They have been victimized; however, I do not believe they are the primary victims. The primary victims are those neighbors who deal with loud parties often and on occasion fear for their lives, such as in this case, with brawls happening in their front yards, police unable to control the situation, accidents throughout the neighborhood, bottles and garbage in their yards. Indeed, people were in fear of their lives until past 4am with police refusing to enter because the situation was described as a “potential tinderbox”. Had police used force to disband this party the fear was that it would turn violent and someone would be hurt. Council and staff had a great deal of discussion about 1) do we want to address this and somehow restrict short term rentals in Hudson and 2) if we do, how would we go about it (fully restricting or slightly restricting, and the best mechanism for that control). After much discussion this is what it sounded like most agreed on: Yes, we need to provide our residential neighborhoods with some level of protection. They did not know they were living next to a commercial business and had a reasonable expectation that a residential neighborhood would in fact largely be “residential” and not impacted by commercial activity. We also largely agreed that the best way to do this would be to raise the bar on standards they must meet to use their properties as a commercial business. That will likely include a combination of licensing requirements, which can be pulled if someone is a repeat offender of this kind of activity. And additionally a text change to how we view “bed and breakfast” within the city of Hudson. So we may be able to raise the bar so a short term rental might have similar requirements to a bed and breakfast. That simply means you cannot just buy residential houses and rent them out without anyone’s knowledge to short term visitors. The penalties also need to be raised so this kind of behavior has an impact on the person who rented the property and the owner of the property. There was large agreement that we did not want to negatively impact longer term rentals as they are often necessary for people moving into town or renovating their homes, and did not represent the same kind of risk short term rentals do. Just to sum this up – no one wants to eliminate this, right now. We do want to ensure something like this wont happen again and if it does that the city has the right to pull any permit for this kind of rental from the individual bad actor rather than coming down on others who have had success with quiet short term rentals. The plan is to have legislation drafted in the coming 4 weeks that will raise the bar to that similar to a bed and breakfast, add licensing that can be suspended if a violation occurs, and enact it quickly – before year end. While that is the plan, I will let you know how the legislation looks once enacted. Questions or concerns, please let me know. -Chris Foster

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