The Babylon Village board is considering banning short-term rentals like Airbnb, saying rentals with the popular room- and house-rental service are a drain on municipal services, are dangerous and create blight.
Mayor Ralph Scordino said there’s a house that is known to offer rented rooms and whose owner lives in Florida, and said the village wants to prevent other such rentals, a proposal several residents objected to.
“How do we know that the electric is done properly? . . . How do we know that there’s water? How do we know any of that? Who inspects the house?” Scordino asked a resident who spoke during a public hearing Tuesday and objects to the village’s proposed ban.
It’s unclear whether the house in question uses Airbnb or whether the rooms fall under the village’s 30-day definition of a short-term rental, or “transient rental properties.”
The proposed law claims rentals can be “overcrowded and dangerous, create blight, tend to overburden municipal services, pose a danger to life, limb and property and promote or encourage deterioration of the housing stock of the village.”
Resident Susan Trumble questioned village officials qualifying short-term vacation rentals as such.
“You’re out of touch with people that are coming into the community, that want to stay for a weekend, that want to enjoy what we have and to tell them ‘Oh no, I’m sorry, you’re going to be rowdy, or you’re a detriment to the community,’” Trumble said. “These are just regular people.”
She called village laws “archaic” and “stagnant” and said, “Where are the statistics that Airbnbs bring in a bad element or it’s going to be hard on the municipalities? It’s progress and Babylon Village needs this.”
Resident Dennis Ude said he owns a second home on the East End and dislikes Airbnb, whose tenants he said created a “tremendous problem.”
“I fully support the board’s action here,” Ude said.
Airbnb has 10 listings in the Town of Babylon, but it’s unclear how many are in the village. Only one or two listings appear in Babylon Village, depending on the dates searched.
“We have serious concerns about any restrictions that could hurt the local residents who rely on home sharing for extra income, as well as small businesses that benefit from visitors, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with Babylon to develop reasonable regulations,” said Josh Meltzer, head of northeast policy for Airbnb.
Stacy McFadden a local Realtor, said it sounded like the mayor was conflating tenement rentals or illegal rooming houses with short-term vacation rentals like Airbnbs.
Scordino said the village doesn’t inspect short-term rentals, making them havens for illegal and dangerous conditions. Several residents suggested that the village inspect them, rather than ban them outright.
“Why not have an Airbnb permit?” McFadden said.