Residents of Jersey City versus short-term renters: City votes “Yes” for rental regulations


Adriana Irizarry

Poster of Keep Our Homes campaign

Adriana Irizarry , Social Media Manager

On Nov. 5th, Jersey City residents voted on the fate of short-term rentals, provided by home-sharing companies, such as Airbnb. The results were announced that evening, with 68% of the votes in favor of new regulations.  

In the last few years, short-term rentals in Jersey City have grown exponentially due to the tourist attraction of its neighboring city, New York City. Many tourists visiting the Big Apple find staying in Jersey City more cost effective than staying in New York.` 

 In spite of that, Jersey City residents became increasingly concerned for what that might’ve meant to their neighborhoods. Many residents argued that short-term rentals were affecting the availability of affordable housing for the lower-income inhabitants of Jersey City. Others residents agreed that short-term rentals initiated substantial damage to the hotel industry.  

This is not the first time Airbnb, and companies alike such as HomeAway and KeyFlip, have been rallied against. Cities like Los Angeles and New Orleans have also taken the Airbnb company to court in defense of their residents. However, this is the first time Airbnb decided to allow Jersey City residents to vote on the case. According to CNBC, Airbnb also “devoted $4.2 million to fighting the regulations.” 

The ordinance was stressed by the mayor of Jersey City, Mayor Fulop, in a flier distributed by his administration, to be not a ban but merely a proposition for city officials to implement “responsible regulations” on the amount of time apartment units can be rented out for as well as who rents them out.  

In defense of short-term renting, a community of local Airbnb hosts created an organization titled Keep Our Homes, to rally against the ordinance, advising residents to vote NO on Municipal Question One. The organization argued that the proposition was in fact a ban, even having stated on the final ordinance in Section 1-G, “The person offering a dwelling unit for short-term rental use must be the owner of the dwelling unit.”  

According to the Keep Our Homes Facebook page, supporters argued that the convenient option of short-term renting provided the opportunity for Jersey City homeowners to be able to comfortably pay property taxes. They also argued that this ordinance eliminated the opportunity for “new customers for small businesses” while also offering an abundance of steady revenue for Jersey City.  

As a matter of fact, the result of this vote can even heavily impact HCCC’s own students. According to HCCC’s 2017- 2018 fact book, roughly 42% of students attending HCCC reside in Jersey City. Whether you’re majoring in Hospitality or partake in the business venture that is home-sharing, these new regulations may affect the future of Jersey City indefinitely.