NEW MARKET – Homeowners looking to make a little extra cash renting out their home may have to prepare to apply for permits soon.

Town Council members have been considering opening up a discussion about Airbnb and other short-term property rentals for some time. On Monday, Tom Constable, a New Market resident, brought the issue to their attention during the council meeting.

Constable said there was an Airbnb property in his neighborhood and while he didn’t have any problem with the owner or guests, he suggested the town has to do something to regulate similar properties.

Constable brought up issues such as the town missing out on collecting the transient occupancy tax that it imposes on hotels and motels.

The other issue, Constable said, is a general lack of guidance from the town.

According to the property description, the house is large enough for 12 visitors. According to the neighborhood association’s guidelines, Constable said, the homes are all single-family homes. The neighbors don’t have any recourse to challenge the Airbnb property if a problem arose other than saying there is more than one family in the house.

Town Manager Todd Walters said he has been reviewing short-term rental ordinances and is planning on bringing some ideas to the Planning Commission before its meeting on Sept. 1.

Walters said he thinks Airbnbs and other short-term rentals are a good thing for the town and provide another incentive to bring people to visit.

“I feel like it’s a good thing as long as there are some regulations,” Walters said. “It gives folks that maybe wouldn’t normally stay here another opportunity.”

In his review of ordinances, Walters said most localities require homeowners who rent out their homes on sites such as Airbnb  to have permits or licenses and have a maximum number of days it can be rented each year. Some ordinances also require the homeowners to be in the home a minimum number of days each year.

Walters said he didn’t know what ideas the Planning Commission had in mind but it’s likely that any potential short-term rental will require a permit of some sort.

The Planning Commission will discuss plans for an ordinance and other guidelines at its next meeting, Walters said, but there will have to be a public hearing before anything is put in place. The soonest anything would be established is January, he said.

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