Havre de Grace To Lift Short-Term Rental Moratorium With New Regulations


Credit: Van Fisher/Patch

The Havre de Grace City Council released a report detailing their plan to restart the issuance of short-term rental licenses in October of 2022. The city government suspended Zoning licenses for short-term rentals in April amid concerns that they would negatively impact housing prices and the community.

A Short-Term rental is any property that is rented to guests for less than 30 days, not including hotels. These homes have gained immense popularity over the last few years as sites such as Airbnb and VRBO have allowed homeowners to lease their property to vacationers quickly.

Short-term rentals have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years due to their effect on the availability of long-term rentals and housing prices. According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank; the economic costs of AirBnbs outweigh the benefits for many municipalities.

“​​the introduction and expansion of Airbnb into U.S. cities and cities around the world carries large potential economic benefits and costs, the costs to renters and local jurisdictions likely exceed the benefits to travelers and property owners.”

AirBnbs are highly profitable for the operators. According to AirDNA, a site that collects information from Airbnb and VRBO hosters, the average short-term rental in Havre de Grace makes $1,992 per month.

According to the city, 89% of short-term rentals are located within McLhinnhey Park and Pulaski Highway area. The city plans to re-zone this area as a “Short term rental overlay district.” The council would impose a cap of 60 on short-term rentals within city boundaries and will assess the impact on the community once the cap has been filled.

Another concern cited by the city council is the growth of “party houses” where a large party occupies a vacation rental and may cause a disturbance to the community.

The report states: “The community character of Havre de Grace is quiet and neighborly in the downtown area.”

To ensure short-term rentals do not cause disturbances for Havre de Grace, the council has laid out a set of fines for property owners, including a $100 fee for any complaint requiring police involvement. The planning department also requests an administrative assistant to run the short-term licensing program and manage long-term regulation.

These new regulations are set to go into effect on October 2nd and end the moratorium on new short-term rentals.

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