Jersey City Residents To Vote On Airbnb’s Fate

Peter Haskell
October 10, 2019 - 12:42 pm
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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (WCBS 880) — New Jersey residents will vote next month on whether they want cities in the state to limit Airbnb’s presence.

Jersey City is among some municipalities in the state that has been fighting to limit the number of Airbnb rentals and the hospitality company has been pushing back.

While the decision is now in the hands of Jersey City residents, Mayor Steven Fulop joined the city’s police and fire department officials on Thursday to address the serious safety risks posed by the unregulated Airbnbs.

He says if residents want to rent out a room in their homes, that's fine, but if companies are gobbling up multiple homes and apartments, that negatively impacts Jersey City’s housing market.

“That creates less supply of rental units in the city and then that increases the rental crisis for everybody else,” he said.

Fulop is urging residents to support the local ordinance that would limit rentals of unoccupied units to 60 days a year.

“When somebody rents an apartment in a building, they want to know who their neighbors are. They don't want there to be a constant revolving door of people coming in every single day that are entirely different,” Fulop adds.

In a statement, local leaders said they were extremely concerned about the safety issues Airbnb rentals can cause. 

“We have significant concerns specifically for Airbnb use in multiple dwellings,” said Joseph Krajnik, the president of the Uniformed Fire Fighters Association of Jersey City. “In a fire, every second counts, and having knowledgeable neighbors who know how many occupants live in a residence, and if someone is trapped or in need of rescuing greatly helps with our mission in saving lives.”

The City Council has already approved an ordinance to establish viable apartments for short-term rentals at the market rate, eliminate party hotels that have been created in residential buildings and focus on owner-occupancy to increase accountability from landlords.

Some Airbnb host have pushed back against the Jersey City effort to limit the number of rentals, saying it is simply about protecting the hotel industry.

The company is also opposing the plan and has bought up a slew of advertisement space in the city to promote their rental units.