What is the Controversy over Airbnb and VRBO?

New technology can be concerning. There is nothing new about renting vacation homes around Oneida Lake; the Finger Lakes have been a tourist destination for 110 years and vacation rental homes have been around as long. Fifty years ago, homeowners advertise their vacation homes in real estate listings, bulletin boards, newspaper advertisements or through word of mouth. Twenty years ago, it was done with on Craigslist and Facebook. Now, vacation renting has efficient and dedicated platforms on Airbnb and VRBO. Like with the introduction of Uber, people tend to react with hesitation to novel technologies. And that is what is happening here. No legal rights have changed, nor has the custom of renting. But the new technology has people feeling anxious. Like with Uber, people will soon feel that the safety of ID checks and guest verification, insurance, anti-partying policies, and smart regulation, will be a path forward for communities nationwide. OLVRA aims to lead the way on that charge around our special Lake.

What are short-term rentals?

“Short term rental” is a term usually associated with a home that lists for rental on online platforms like VRBO or Airbnb. It applies to properties rented to non-tenant guests who are granted a temporary, revocable license to use a property for a short period of time. OLVRA, among many others, believe that it is an inherent right of property ownership to lease a property to a tenant, to let family, friends, or guests use their home, or to license its use for short periods of time without creating a tenancy. Vacation homes usually fall into this category. While renting vacation homes is nothing new, the new technology associated with renting homes for short durations has raised scrutiny and led local lawmakers to impose new and onerous regulations that deprive property owners of a fundamental right. OLVRA aims to educate lawmakers, regulators, and the public about the benefits of smart regulation of short-term rentals and to advocate for better legal treatments.

Does the OLVRA support responsible renting?

Yes. Renting responsibly is crucial for communities like ours where vacation rentals are popular. Homeowners and property managers should consider setting reasonable house rules, limiting occupancy to a number of guests appropriate for the size of the property, and maintaining open and honest communication with neighbors. Responsible renting also goes means supporting the local economy by patronizing local businesses and pointing guests to the hidden gems around the Lake.

Do Oneida Lake vacation rentals owners pay more taxes than primary-home residents?

Vacation home owners sometime even pay more tax revenue into the community than primary homeowners, like those in the Towns of Cicero, Bridgeport, and Brewerton. Those who rent out their homes to paying guests are required to pay applicable state and local property and income taxes. Further, some owners are required by their state or municipalities to pay “hotel” or occupancy taxes. For example, Owners in Onondaga County are required to remit these occupancy taxes, which support local tourism, to the tune of over $1.4 million dollars in the last 5 years alone.

What is the economic and employment impact of Vacation Renting in my Community?

Very little economic impact data exists at the local level for the impact of vacation renting in tourist communities in New York. While vacation renting has been associated in New York with over $1 billion in higher tourism revenue and dollars, increased sales tax revenue at the state and local revenue, and increased investments in home improvement and maintenance, and new jobs in property management and hospitality services, many local government are proceeding to ban vacation rental with no examination of the economic or employment impact. The OLVRA will be publishing in February of 2023 an economic impact study on Onondaga County and specifically the Towns of Cicero, Brewerton, and Bridgeport. We plan to study over the next year the other 3 counties around the Lake and publish that data. Check back here for a study link!

What is the current status of Rentals near oneida?

1. not itended as legal advice, last updated 1/1/23
2. “Lawful” defined as no prohibition or functional prohibition on all vacation renting
3. “Regulated” or “Unregulated” means a jurisdiction has does or does not have restrictions and regulations on the who and how of vacation renting