2018-02-16 / Letters

Decision on rentals not right

To the editor:

A ban on “non-hosted homestays” in residential zones is a necessary move to preserve the stability of our neighborhoods and open up much-needed long-term housing in our city. For that, I applaud our city council for taking action. However, the ordinance goes too far in limiting owner-occupied rentals. Limiting the occupancy rate per rental to a couple with an infant child is completely arbitrary and out of touch with the reality of travelling families. Requiring the actual owner to be present at all times rather than a representative of the owner is also unnecessarily prohibitive, essentially forcing people to forgo a source of income if they ever want to travel away from their home.

Even more mind-boggling to me is the high level of effort and resources put forth to regulate short-term rentals compared to the inconsequential ordinance that was passed to protect long-term renters in the city. Nearly 40 percent of our city’s residents are still subject to housing instability and financial crisis while the token protections that were passed for them are largely ineffective and unenforceable.

So, to those homeowners who are impacted by the overreaching aspects of this ordinance: Communicate with your neighbors about what you are doing. Ask them what they think of these rules. If they don’t agree with it, this ordinance can be amended this year. Don’t just accept it.

It is a shame that you could be fined for simply hosting a family or wanting to take a vacation without losing income.

Chris Kessler South Portland

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