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Ithaca moves to regulate short-term rentals

The Ithaca Common Council has directed city planners to prepare a short-term rental regulation ordinance, marking a significant step in efforts to manage the impact of services like AirBnB on the local housing market. The proposed regulations aim to reserve short-term rental permits for primary residents only, limiting rentals to single- and two-family homes. This move seeks to preserve housing for long-term residents while still allowing homeowners to earn extra income.

Feedback from city officials and the community has largely supported the new proposal, which excludes corporations and non-primary residents from obtaining short-term rental permits. Despite some concerns over financial impacts, the initiative is seen as a way to restore neighborhood integrity and return housing units to the market. The ordinance draft is expected to be reviewed at the council’s April meeting, after revisions were made to simplify the policy and address enforcement feasibility.

The city of Ithaca has recognized the need for regulation amidst rising housing costs and a significant number of short-term rentals operating without paying local occupancy taxes. With the new regulations, the city aims to enhance compliance, improve housing availability, and potentially increase revenue from room taxes. This effort reflects a broader strategy to address housing challenges incrementally, underscoring the complexity of balancing the interests of various stakeholders in the community.