Vacation Rentals

Vacation Rentals

Lately, clients have been asking for my thoughts on vacation rental income-producing properties. I thought it best that I touch on this issue a bit.
Airbnb, VRBO, and a host of other online platforms have become significantly more popular in our area in just the last several years. Currently there are over 600 vacation rentals in Lake Placid, with another 300+ in Jay, Keene and Wilmington. What does this mean for the community?
Having vacation rental properties in residential areas has an impact. The positives include:
  1. Positive economic effects. Short term vacation guests spend their money locally on visitor related amenities such as restaurants, bars, movies, plays, and various events.
  2. Increased tourism activity. Home rentals are preferred by many vacationers. Without this option, some tourists will go elsewhere.
  3.  Employment. Short term rental property owners employ cleaners, caretakers, and various tradespeople.
Vacation rental properties also present communities with challenges:
  1. Less long term rentals. Because short term rental income is so lucrative, homeowners often choose to rent short term rather than long term. This has led to a severe shortage of housing for younger people and those in the service industry.
  2. Neighborhood changes. Small towns can lose the sense of community that has long been cherished.
Our various town and village governmental officials are working to find a balance, and set up guidelines that best suit the local needs and vision for the future. Prospective home buyers, who are considering renting their homes, should be made fully aware of the current laws, as well as those changes currently being discussed.
Here is a quick overview as I understand it:
  1. Lake Placid currently has a rental law in place, which can be found here:
Lake Placid/North Elba has put a 6-month moratorium on handing out rental permits, which is set to expire in September. During this time, the town and village boards are reevaluating the current law and preparing changes. The North Elba Community Development Board presented the community with proposed changes.
  1. Wilmington currently has a rental law in place. While the law is not online, you can get a copy by contacting the Wilmington codes office, or let me know and I can send you a copy very easily.
  2. Saranac Lake is considering a registry, but there are no restrictions.
  3. Keene and Jay have no restrictions.
If you are a homebuyer who will also be wanting short-term vacation rental income, I strongly suggest you:
  1. Be knowledgeable about local laws, and changes being discussed.
  2. Do your homework. Will the neighborhood you’re interested in provide the income you are looking for?
  3. Know occupancy rates and understand high and low seasons.
  4. Use research tools. Sites like AirDNA can help you predict potential income.

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