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Atlantic City to roll out online portal to assist with new short-term rental regulations

By The Press of Atlantic City
 

ATLANTIC CITY — The city is implementing an online portal, set to go live Friday, for property owners who wish to offer short-term rentals.

The portal coincides with two ordinances City Council approved in December to better regulate rental properties.

The ordinances amend annual fees, occupancy loads, age limits of renters and parking availability, and cap the number of short-term rental permits in the Chelsea neighborhood.

In a Facebook Live video Tuesday morning, Mayor Marty Small Sr. referred to something he had said during his 2020 State of the City address about wanting to have “an aggressive policy to attack the issues and problems with short-term rentals.”

“The city of Atlantic City supports short-term rentals when it’s done in an absolute right way,” he said.

Short-term rental applications through the online portal built by GovPilot - a Hoboken, NJ based government software company - must be submitted with a $150 application fee. To get approved, the owner must provide an address for the property, block and lot, number of units involved and contact information for the property owner, said Dale Finch, director of licensing and inspection for the city.

If the property is an LLC, corporation or partnership, the application must list all officers. If the property is a condominium, approvals from the condo association are required.

“The main thing we need is the name and address and email contact of the person that’s in charge of the property, the person that is going to be managing the funds,” Finch said. “That person must be available 24/7 in the event that there are issues at the property. That person must be able to respond within one hour of the call.”

Other requirements include up-to-date property tax payments and general liability insurance indicating the property is a short-term rental. Any outstanding code violations on the property must be abated prior to the application. Renters have to be at least 21 years old, he said.

Once the application is received, code enforcement officers will inspect the property in accordance with the International Property Maintenance Code. The inspection includes a determination of the occupancy load of the property. The code allows a maximum of 16 occupants in a short-term rental, which is the same occupancy load of Airbnb, according to the online renter’s website.

Property owners are also required to pay an annual licensing fee to the city, which is broken up into three tiers. A property that houses one to six occupants has an annual fee of $1,000, properties with seven to 11 occupants pay $1,500 and properties with 12 to 16 occupants pay $1,800.

Once the application is received, the property is inspected and approved and the applicant pays the fee, the applicant will receive a license that must be placed within the property. There will also be a list of contacts for services within the city that will be provided to the property.

“They’re guests in the community and they don’t know who to call … so we will provide that for them,” Finch said.

When complaints are called in, Finch’s office will receive an email of the complaint which will then be kept on record, he said.

“This will enable us, from code enforcement, to address those complaints with the ownership,” he said.

He added that inspectors will be working weekends to assist with code compliance and to ensure neighborhoods are free of issues.

Parking issues with short-term rentals are also being addressed.

“Parking is a difficult situation as it is already, so we’re going to work on that situation and hope to have that resolved in the next couple of weeks,” Finch said.

The move comes after years of complaints from residents and business owners in the city, months of public discussion and weeks of policy refinement. For years, residents have attended council meetings pleading with officials to address noise complaints, trash collection and parking issues caused by guests at short-term rental properties.

“We just wanted the public to know that his administration has heard you loud and clear,” Small said. “We’re putting our best foot forward. Our goal is to continue to make the quality of life of all of Atlantic City better.”

 

This article written by CJ Fairfield, originally appeared in The Press of Atlantic City on January 19, 2021

Tags: News, Government Efficiency, Constituent Experience, Digital Transformation