Town of Southold Plans Crackdown On Short-Term Rentals

Citing safety concerns, the Town of Southold is mulling a crackdown on violators of its short-term rental law. While the law, passed in August of 2015, banned homeowners from renting their property for less than 14 days, the Town reports that last year it received more than 20 complaints about violations of the law.  More troubling, however, have been  several fires in residences that had been illegally used as short-term rentals. As a result, the Town is considering hiring additional code enforcement officers and more aggressively prosecuting violators.

The Town is also considering proposals to strengthen its short-term rental laws.  Among the proposals under consideration is a plan to require rental occupancy permits for all rentals in the Town. This proposal would also require code inspectors to ensure compliance with safety regulations, including proper entrances and exits, working carbon monoxide detectors and sufficiently wide hallways.  However, to address the short-term rental issue more broadly, the Town is considering loosening the building restrictions that limit accessory apartments, as well as promoting more affordable rental housing.  Taken together, these two proposals would allow for a more holistic approach to the Town's short-term rental issue.

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