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Municipal Restrictions on Short-Term Home Rentals? Coming Soon to a Town Near You?

TONIGHT the Town of Lynnfield, MA will hold a Town Meeting that will, if passed, affect the rights of its property owners. 

Take a look at Article 6 on Lynnfield's Town Warrant. This language would prohibit owners of single family homes from renting out THEIR PROPERTY, if the rental period is 30 days or less. No doubt what prompted the panic was the Lynnfield fatal shooting at a sprawling mansion earlier this year.

I can certainly see a homeowner's initial reaction being, "Why should anyone be able to dictate what I can and cannot do with my property?" However, there seems to be more to the story when you dig deeper. Sure, we have Little Neck, Great Neck, and Plum Island which come to my mind immediately; and all the weekly and seasonal short-term rentals that allow many of those owners to afford their slice of paradise. Many of my personal best vacations were the weekly rentals of beach-front and lake-side homes. Are vacationers ruining the fabric of the neighborhoods? One of the biggest opponents of Airbnb says exactly that about how Airbnb is hurting the neighborhoods of NYC. His (some say hypocritical) position is that it forces would-be long-term renters out for the astronomically high rents short-term renters are willing to pay. He does make a point there.

What do you think? 

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