We have all seen the ads for the beautiful, secluded vacation spot, whether it is a mountain, lake, or an out-of-the-way beach. You have the property and the surrounding scenery all to yourself and your family. One of the selling points is that there is no sharing of space or facilities like you would have to do with a hotel or motel. It sounds wonderful. The brand is VRBO, Vacation Rental By Owner, although there are others in the market place.
But is it as idyllic as it seems?
What if the house being rented in the middle of a quiet suburban neighborhood was never intended to be a “vacation” destination, but now is near numerous local attractions: the Gettysburg Battlefields; the Baltimore Inner Harbor and Aquarium; the Lancaster Amish Country.
Out-of-town visitors bring with them a genuine appreciation for the sites that Central Pennsylvania offers, but also bring with them a host of other problems that suburban neighborhoods never contemplated: congested parking, people coming and going at all hours of the day and night, and the disruption of the quiet suburban setting by frequent backyard parties and alcohol consumption. All of this is in addition to the problem to create a facility that is safe for the renters through the security of smoke detectors, fire suppression systems and extinguishers, and emergency egress, just to name a few of the issues. The average home is not equipped for short-term guests as would be a local hotel or motel, and yet that is the current trend.
As these short-term rentals become popular, York County municipalities must grapple with how to regulate such use, whether it be openly permissive or relatively strict, or even to regulate the use at all. Each municipality has to recognize that doing nothing should not be the answer, but just what is the proper response? It is likely that all local municipalities will eventually adopt local ordinances-whether treated as zoning ordinances, or as a business use ordinance-calling for, among other things, licensing, inspections, safety precautions for the guests, and noise limitations for the neighbors. There will also be the attendant fees and expenses that go with allowing a business like this to operate within a municipal boundary. Will this mean an additional employee, or can the work load be absorbed by your current staff?
However a municipality approaches the issue, it is safe to say that these short-term rentals are here to stay, and each municipality will have to decide best how to regulate them.
Bankruptcy and Debt Restructuring Chair | Shareholder | Attorney
Larry Young is a shareholder with CGA Law Firm and currently chairs the firm’s Bankruptcy and Debt Restructuring group. He focuses his practice on consumer bankruptcy matters, Chapter 11 and corporate reorganizations, debt restructuring, and workouts. Larry is certified as a Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist by the American Board of Certification and is one of only 25 attorneys who have this designation throughout the Commonwealth. He is also the solicitor for Manchester Township and served as a Township Supervisor for 10 years.
Read Larry’s Bio Page in full HERE.