VENTNOR – Property owners who rent their homes on a short-term basis will be required to obtain a mercantile license if an ordinance introduced on Dec. 13 is adopted. Others will have to hire a private contractor to haul away their trash starting in April 2019.
The Board of Commissioners introduced the ordinance as a way to track short-term rentals, some of which result in over-crowding, noise or other complaints to police.
The ordinance affects leases that are for less than 30 days, including those leased on Airbnb, VRBO, Evolve, HomeAway or other online vacation home rental portals.
“We don’t want to discourage short-term rentals, but we do want to track them,” Commissioner Lance Landgraf said.
If property owners continually lease to tenants who cause problems with neighbors or police, the city can “pull” the mercantile license, and they will not be permitted to operate the short-term rental business, officials said.
The ordinance states that no one can operate a business or lease a property for less than 30 days without first obtaining a mercantile license. The fee is $100 per year and requires property owners to provide contact information where they can be reached in an emergency. The license also provides the Code Enforcement Officer with the ability to access the property to determine compliance. Violations are subject to fines.
A public hearing on the ordinance will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27.
In other business, City Administrator Maria Mento said the city would stop offering trash and recycling collection for certain businesses and apartment complexes starting in 2019.
“We discovered that the city has been paying for the collection and disposal of trash from about 35 commercial entities in the city,” including businesses, restaurants, apartments and stores, she said.
The ACUA estimates the cost of collecting at those businesses, which are required by law to provide their own trash pick-up, at $43,000.
Somewhere along the line in years past, businesses may have been grandfathered-in when the ACUA took over trash collection, she said.
“It’s an opportunity for the city to save $43,000. It’s probably not fair to the businesses where we don’t collect and they have to pay their own,” Mento said.
“It’s something that has probably gone on for decades,” Commissioner Tim Kriebel said.
“I don’t know of any other community that provides commercial trash pickup,” city Solicitor Tim Maguire said.
The city will eliminate collection at the businesses starting April 1, to give business owners enough time to contract with a private hauler. There are several private trash haulers operating in Atlantic County, including Earthtech and Waste Management.
“We have to get a letter out to them as a courtesy,” she said.
Mento said the city will be signing a new seven-year trash and recycling collection contract with the ACUA in early 2019, which will include an annual pro-rated share of the cost of purchasing 95-gallon wheeled recycling and trash containers for all households.
Eliminating the trash collection for commercial properties will free up funds to help pay for the new trash and recycling containers, Mento said.