Lebanon mulls new rules to regulate local short-term/holiday rentals
Short-term and vacation rentals can currently only be operated in the central business district in Lebanon, but the city council is considering changes that would allow it to be expanded.
During the process of the recently completed comprehensive plan, a need to strengthen neighborhoods was identified. Brunka said residents have raised concerns about out-of-town and out-of-town landlords, as 60% of multi-family residential properties in Lebanon are currently owned by out-of-town individuals or businesses.
Other concerns raised included the introduction of transient population into residential areas which could impact adjacent properties; and the conversion of existing long-term residences to short-term rentals could add market pressures to Lebanon’s difficult housing market.
“It’s a hot topic, but it’s something the city needs to look very closely at,” Brunka said.
Councilor Scott Norris, general contractor and owner of rentals in the community, said he was in favor of increasing the number of short-term/vacation rentals in the community due to the limited housing inventory. He has been approached by various people about the issue, but does not anticipate a massive influx of people rushing to buy short term/holiday rental properties.
“I am in favor of expansion and more flexibility, with conditions,” he said.
Norris said organizations such as the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Lebanon are developing community events to attract area residents and tourists. He also said there is a need for short-term rentals for people who have been displaced due to fire or for people whose home sale has closed faster than expected and who are between two houses.
“We have a lot more to talk about on this issue,” he said. “We have a lot of big events coming up this summer. If people do, I don’t want them sneaking around. If we enlarge it, we will be able to capture the events of summer.
Another concern is that there are no regulations to track registration or lodging tax payments to the city or county of Warren, Brunka said. He said the city is aware of four properties being used as short-term/vacation rentals and estimates there may be eight to 10 more in operation.