Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Gazette Editorial

Rental regulations  should be enacted

Obviously, people who own single-family homes and use them for short-term rentals support the unfettered use of their property. Just as obviously, people who live next to or near short-term rentals do not.

Neither party can be blamed for feeling the way they do, as landlords want and maybe need to receive that additional income, while neighboring homeowners don’t want to surrender the peaceable enjoyment of their own properties to accommodate weekly visitors who may not be as peaceable as they should be.

The question that has yet to be resolved in the numerous attempts to regulate the growing vacation rental business in residential neighborhoods is whether one owner’s property rights should, or even can, supercede another’s.

The assertion that the appearance of short-term rental properties in a quiet residential neighborhood doesn’t change its character isn’t so. It absolutely does alter its composition, since neighbors are supplanted by a changing cast of strangers, whose only tie to that particular community is a weeklong stay.

It might even be safe to say that a large cluster of detached houses occupied exclusively by weekly renters would warrant some kind of zoning change to reflect the unique character of that neighborhood.

But when weekly rentals pop up here and there in single-family zones, officials find it difficult to impossible to institute strict standards, much less prohibitions, after the fact.

That’s why the Ocean Pines Association should do its utmost to enact its short-term rental regulations quickly with whatever revisions deemed to be appropriate.

This is not so much to affect existing rental properties, which do deserve consideration, but as a safeguard for residential neighborhoods whose residents prefer it staying that way as much as possible.