Jersey City officials urge residents to vote ‘yes’ on short-term rental restrictions

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Jersey City residents will decide the fate of short-term rentals when they head to the polls this November.

If passed, the ordinance would put restrictions on short-term rentals through companies like Airbnb.

Jersey City officials organized an event Thursday to urge residents to vote “yes” on the ordinance. The officials cite things like safety concerns as a reason for the restrictions.

Craig Zehms says the short-term rental operating in the rowhouse next door to his home in Jersey City is a nuisance and has put his safety at risk.

“I could have ended up with gas poisoning because tenants, short-term tenants, had turned on a gas fireplace that had not been hooked up to anything,” he says.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop says that some of the restrictions include making sure that a building is occupied by the owner, “so that an owner or company can’t come in and buy 10 houses on a block and turn them all into hotels."

It would also limit the number of days a unit could be rented short-term.

But Nathan Taylor, a Jersey City artist who rents out extra bedrooms in his apartment on Airbnb, says that he couldn't afford to live in the city if he couldn’t rent out the bedrooms.

“I've had guests from all over the world, tourists. I’ve had business travelers, I've also had people who needed emergency housing,” Taylor says.

The battle has become a full-on campaign with Airbnb fighting regulations on those who provide short-term rentals.

“One thing the mayor seems to forget is that these are his constituents, No. 1, but they are also ambassadors for Jersey City. They want clean neighborhoods, they want good units,” a Jersey City resident tells News 12 New Jersey.

If passed, the regulations would begin to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

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