December 1, 2021

Dryden enacts law for Airbnbs

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Arnaud Germain stands Thursday in the living room of an apartment attached to his Dryden home. He rents the apartment using the website AirBnB. The town recently enacted a law regulating short-term rentals like these.

DRYDEN — Arnaud Germain knows the effect a short-term rental on homes can have with his country of origin: France.

The city of Paris sued Airbnb — the world’s largest short-term rental website — in 2019 over unauthorized rental homes, according to news media reports. The case was later dismissed but showed that improper listings affected municipalities.

The town of Dryden is now working to prevent unauthorized rentals being used for Airbnb after the town enacted regulations on short-term rentals earlier this month.

The law sets up a legal framework for Airbnbs to operate, defining what constitutes a short-term rental, the length of time an owner can be away from the rented space and the number of people allowed to stay. It also requires a $90 registration for two years.

Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Lamb said the law was enacted as the town has become a popular site for short-term rentals, but had no regulations regarding them.

“Without a change to our zoning law, anyone who was operating one of these could have been subjected to a fine,” he said.

The law also provides the town a registry of homes that are being rented out should noise or other complaints occur while guests are staying there. This, Lamb said, gives the town a way to contact the owner.

The town is also working to implement noise ordinances that could result in revoking permits for short-term rental owners if there are multiple violations.

“Without some basic rules in place, you can have some detrimental outcomes in this type of industry,” he said.

Germain said he likes that regulations are being set up, but thinks the registration fee could hurt people who may want to open up their homes to guests.

“Hopefully, it’s not going to affect people who purchased a place just for Airbnb,” he said.

Germain said he has rented out a portion of his home for about a year and a half as a way to increase his income. He also liked the experience of using Airbnb when traveling in that it can be cheaper than staying in a hotel and the hosts are locals.

Even during the pandemic, Germain said he was frequently renting out during the summer and has had many weekends booked.

He does worry that more places becoming short-term rentals in Dryden could potentially hurt local businesses because he has heard about issues in Paris where tourists will stay at an Airbnb but spend their money elsewhere.

“I think both can exist together,” he said. “You just need to find a good equilibrium that makes as many people as possible happy.”

Lamb, who said that about 300 Dryden houses list space on the Airbnb website, said the good experience for guests and the possibility of income for owners make it an enticing option.

It also is a way to have tourists spend their money in the area.

“We want to support Dryden residents who want this kind of revenue,” he said. “They’re good for the town for all the reasons I mentioned, as long as they’re done in a responsible way.”