The Town Council of Lewes, Delaware, is weighing a plan to formally license short-term rentals by leveling the playing field for owners of both short-term and long-term rentals. Some community members favor long-term renters, concerned that short-term rentals cause the town to go empty during the off-season, while others say short-term rentals are used for parties and tax available parking. The draft ordinance sent to the council would only oversee overnight occupancy, without affecting daytime visitors to rentals. Rather than creating incentives to host long-term rentals, the ordinance hikes the rental license fee from $83 to $200 for all rentals. It also outlines equal punishments for violations of license or operations rules; short-term rentals research consultant Jeffery Goodman says while Lewes plans to use $500 fines as a warning for violations, the threat of license revocation for a year will be more effective. The 12-month prohibition would also bar property owners who were operating without a rental license from applying for one. The council has scheduled an Oct. 3 hearing on the subject.
Delaware Public Media (09/17/22) Paul Kiefer