The fight to regulate the short-term rental industry has been an expensive and heated one.
You’ll find signs of the fight over Airbnb in almost every Jersey City neighborhood.
It’s a deeply personal issue for Felicia Palmer, who says renting out her property has saved her family from disaster.
“I would not have been able to survive and my family would have suffered if didn’t have the ability to earn extra income with Airbnb,” she told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
On Election Tuesday, voters will decide on a ballot measure to regulate the industry.
If approved, new rules include creating an annual 60-day cap if the owner is not on site and preventing renters from serving as hosts. Current hosts would also have to obtain permits from the city.
“It’s very limited, it’s very restrictive and it came out of nowhere. It seems like an artificial problem,” said Christian Gavillan, who manages Airbnb properties.
But those who support the ordinance, including Mayor Steven Fulop, say Airbnb is affecting quality of life.
They believe regulation will cut down on illegal hotels and higher costs of housing.
“We get concerns and complaints from residents saying that they got to live with that or that strangers are coming in and out on their block in multiple houses, every day different people, and there are safety issues around that,” Fulop said.
Neighbors like Lorraine Sperling say she welcomes the ordinance after an Airbnb guest tampered with equipment in a nearby house and caused a dangerous gas leak.
“Since then we’ve had bachelorette parties that I’ve had to coordinate the eviction of drunken bachelorette people from. We’ve had trash issues, constant noise issues,” she said.
If the ballot measure passes, the new rules would go into effect in January.
Airbnb says banning renters from sharing their homes will put many families in financial jeopardy.
Polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in New Jersey.