Houghtaling & Downey Bill to Protect Shore Homeowners from Short-Term Rental Tax Signed Into Law

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Last year, a new law extended New Jersey’s sales and occupancy tax to short-term rentals. A measure rolling that tax back for private homeowners who use classified ads and other traditional platforms to find renters - and especially those on the Jersey Shore - was signed into law this Friday. The measure was sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune) and Joann Downey (D-Freehold)

Last year’s tax, which established an 11.625 percent levy in most towns for short-term rentals lasting fewer than 90 days, was intended solely for transactions brokered by online property rental site AirBnB, rather than traditional week-long summer rentals. However, while the law specifically exempted rentals booked through licensed real estate brokers, it failed to exempt homeowners who rent out their property through informal means such as Craigslist, Facebook, or word-of-mouth.

“The original bill failed to consider the potential danger to property owners who earn a living by selling short-term rentals through traditional informal means, like classifieds or shared social circles,” said Houghtaling. “This new law will help those property owners keep their rentals booked through the summer, both for the last few weeks of this year’s season and for every summer to come. It will help shore businesses keep customers flocking to their doors, and give tourists a chance to have the vacation of their dreams right here at the Jersey Shore.”

“Over the past several months, we’ve listened to Jersey Shore homeowners – many of whom are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy – who are worried they’ll see far less summer guests going forward as a result of the short-term rental tax," said Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold), who introduced the bill. "Summer tourism is the heartbeat of the shore, and with this new law, we can free our homeowners and our seasonal economy from the burden of this tax for good.”

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