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Unlicensed Short-Term Rentals Issue In Tourism

Wikimedia Commons Max Wolfe

Tourism officials are concerned about the growth of the short term rental industry and one person says a number of concerns have surfaced locally.

Websites advertise available openings from property owners interested in making a few dollars in property not being used.

Kari Zambon is an owner of Holiday Acres in the town of Pelican and a member of the Oneida County Tourism Council. She says some people selling property are telling potential buyers that if they buy the property they can rent it out.

But Zambon says Oneida county has rules about short term rentals...

".....rentals, in particular Oneida county, are expected to be inspected and to be licensed, collecting sales tax and paying that back to the state. So there are a lot of things involved with rentals...."

Rentals under 30 days are not allowed unless it is registered as a hotel, bed and breakfast or resort and resides within proper zoning. Zambon says people often want to rent out their second home to get some money back for property taxes, but she says the practice is taking business away from businesses that are following the rules.

At county committee meetings, officials have said it's a problem when an owner rents a property to visitors interested in have a loud, good, time at the expense of neighbors who aren't used to the noise...

".....there aren't enough resources within the county to follow up on everything. So it's hard for the county to do it and they're doing the best they can. They're sending out notices to people they hear are renting without licenses, etc. It's a touchy issue...."

Kari Zambon says renting off a website often doesn't indicate whether the property is an inspected or insured property. Zambon says she hopes state legislators will look at the long-term effects to businesses operating within the law, including collecting sales taxes. She says enforcement does take personnel to follow up on the complaints.

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