David Cavanaugh: STR update | Columns
It’s hard to believe it’s only been six months since our association was formed in response to Conway voters’ vote to regulate short-term rentals. The comment I’ve heard the most since then is that people didn’t think the vote would ever result in a total rental ban.
Many didn’t even vote because they thought it was just an attempt to put in some reasonable guidelines. Nonetheless, the result was that voters unknowingly voted to lose the fundamental right to someday rent their property for the short term.
This lack of clarity prompted the Town of Conway to ask the Carroll County Superior Court to determine whether Conway had the right to regulate rentals under existing zoning, seeking a declaratory judgment.
Our association immediately mobilized and hired two experienced and respected NH property rights law firms to defend the property rights of owners. This first case is to be heard on November 24. This deal is one of many and will not immediately stop short term rentals at Conway. It will take years to resolve this issue, and during that time, community members will need to work together to be good neighbors and ensure that Mount Washington Valley remains a great place to live and visit.
Our association supports the efforts of local towns to protect the quality of life of neighbors. We support noise ordinances, street parking bans, and even DOS registration, similar to the registration currently required for long-term rentals. Everyone wants to have community standards that preserve our quality of life. Our association works to find solutions to address common concerns, ask our members to adopt best practices and educate tenants on local issues. The association has negotiated a partnership with NoiseAware.
This company offers a product that monitors the noise level in a rental property and immediately sends an alert to the landlord if the noise levels in a property exceed a predetermined level. This program has been shown to be very effective in other resort communities in reducing noise complaints and we are also seeing the results here. It should be noted that reports from the Conway Daily Sun showed that the Conway Police Chief said he had received very few noise complaints from STRs this year.
A current report produced this month by the College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire estimates that the financial impact of STRs on Conway’s tourism economy is between $ 45 million and $ 50 million per year. , including increasing local wages, restaurants and services.
This represents about a third of Conway’s tourism spending that could not be absorbed by existing or planned hotels. Coupled with the loss of the room and meal tax due to the STR ban, we would likely see cuts to police, fire, and school budgets, or an increase in local property taxes, to offset the loss. It’s simple economics; if you decrease the money that goes into an outside community, the community will have to make up the difference.
At the state level, members of the MWV Association for Responsible Vacation Rentals worked with Democratic and Republican lawmakers, property rights groups and legal advisers in Concord to draft legislation defining short-term rentals. term and allowing cities to regulate them at the local level. level.
The goal is to enact legislation that would allow cities to register and regulate STRs in order to preserve the quality of life in our residential communities and to support the economic impact of our tourism economy, while putting an end to litigation without end that benefits no one. The NH Senate Bill has been submitted to NH State Legislative Services for consideration and will be tabled for consideration in the 2022 session.
An interesting aspect of this problem is that a large part of our over 1,500 supporters are not RTS owners. Some, of course, are property managers, landscapers, plow operators, cleaning staff and other service providers who make their living maintaining second homes.
But there is also a large group of locals who, although they do not currently rent out their property for the short or long term, wish to protect both their right to do so in the future and the value of their property in the future. resale. The lack of clarity and explanation of the articles of the March 2021 mandate has led to this terrible result, where the people who live, work and own property in Conway see their taxes being used to pay legal fees to withdraw their own rights. Instead of reasonable regulations, they see the government going too far into the “live free or die” state.
Finally, the association’s legal committee continues to be involved in the Conway declaratory judgment and in Parks v. Kearsarge Lighting Precinct. We will continue to monitor Jackson, Madison and Freedom, and stand ready to support taxpayer property rights in court if necessary.
Our lawyers are also evaluating the launch of a federal lawsuit based on the premise that second home owners pay more than 40 percent of residential property taxes but have no table seat and no ballot representation.
In 11 states, second home owners have sued on the basis of taxation without representation and obtained limited voting rights on articles of community mandates or received a property tax reduction for the fact that they don’t use the school system.
We believe property rights should not be violated when reasonable legislation such as Conway’s new noise ordinance, which has been used effectively this summer, can be used to fix the problem. Ultimately, we hope we can all be good neighbors and continue to contribute to the city we love.
David Cavanaugh is president of the MWV Association for Responsible Vacation Rentals.