Manalapan adopts ordinance to prohibit short-term rentals

MANALAPAN – The Township Committee has adopted an ordinance that will prohibit the short-term rental of residential property in Manalapan. The ordinance was adopted on Sept. 12.

Township Attorney Roger McLaughlin has said the ordinance “addresses issues and problems that have arisen with short-term rentals in Manalapan and elsewhere. This would apply to Airbnb daily and weekly rentals.”

McLaughlin said the ordinance will not apply to the members of a family who are paying rent to live in another family member’s Manalapan residence.

During the public hearing that preceded the committee’s vote to adopt the ordinance, a resident of Winfield Drive, which is in a neighborhood off Craig Road, told municipal officials residents support the move.

He said one homeowner on Winfield Drive has been renting his home to groups of individuals who are congregating at and staying in what has come to be known as a “party house” near the shore and Great Adventure in Jackson. He said neighbors have had their weekend peace and quiet impacted by loud music, fireworks, bonfires and glass breaking.

The ordinance states that “short-term rentals frequently result in public nuisance, noise complaints, sanitation issues, overcrowding and illegal parking within residential neighborhoods, and essentially convert residential units into illegal de facto hotels, motels, boarding houses and other commercial enterprises, in violation of the township’s zoning …”

The committee “finds that the short-term rental of residential units and residential property should be prohibited in order to prevent (those conditions),” according to the ordinance.

The ordinance states it will be “unlawful for an owner, lessor, sub-lessor, any other person or entity with possessory right in a dwelling unit … to receive or obtain actual or anticipated consideration for advertising, offering, and/or permitting … the use or occupancy of any dwelling unit or of any residential property … for a period of less than 175 consecutive days.”

Mayor Jack McNaboe, Deputy Mayor Susan Cohen, Committeewoman Mary Ann Musich and Committeeman Kevin Uniglicht voted “yes” on a motion to adopt the ordinance. Committeeman David Kane voted “no” on the motion.

Kane, who voted “no” on a motion to introduce the ordinance several weeks earlier, said at the time that “the entire committee agrees on the need to ban short-term leases to prevent vacation rentals in Manalapan. The disagreement is relatively minor and relates only to the minimum length of a permissible lease.

“The ordinance proposes 175 days, which effectively means no lease can be shorter than six months. I’m concerned that banning month-to-month leases will hurt residents who need such rentals during short-term home repairs or similar situations, as well as residents who cannot afford the financial requirements typically required by a long-term lease (like first and last month rent and a security deposit). I would prefer a minimum lease term of one month, which I believe prevents vacation rentals without adding further hardship,” Kane said.