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Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Lower Hires Firm to Look for Unlicensed Rentals

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By Carl Price

VILLAS – In 2008, Airbnb, a vacation rental marketplace, went online, allowing users to book lodging or list their properties for short-term rental. 
In 2021, Lower Township went online to find property owners who use that service, or others like it, to let them know they need a mercantile license.
Lower Township Council hired a firm, Granitus, to look for rentals online that may not comply with the requirement to have a mercantile license.
Michael Laffey, Lower Township manager, said the municipality hopes to let short-term landlords, who may be new to the game, know about the requirements.
“We aren’t looking to ‘catch’ anybody doing something wrong. We want to make them aware of the requirements and bring them into compliance. It is really a safety issue,” Laffey explained.
Properties are subject to inspections, such as fire safety, which have a cost, and Laffey said the businesses add costs to the municipality through things like trash collection.
“The license allows us to recoup costs and protects renters and surrounding properties,” Laffey said.
Granitus was signed to a one-year contract, at $26,000. They locate properties out of compliance and identify the owner.

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