The pro-Airbnb “Keep Our Homes” campaign hosted a community art show in McGinley Square yesterday where artists painted and showed off new pieces as they expressed why they believe the community at large should vote no on the fast-approaching short-term rental referendum.
The city has maintained their position all along that the new ordinance that the council passed in June establishes new regulations that would simply improve the quality of life with provisions such as ensuring that property owners live on the premises.
Despite this, a couple of the artists, including Nathan Taylor who was painting a new piece yesterday, explained the significance of renting a home in the city and being an Airbnb host since short-term rentals were first approved in 2015.
Should the voters approve municipal question 1 on Tuesday, November 5, he’ll have at least a one-year grace period before he is disallowed from renting to Airbnb guests.
He lives in a two-family house and the owner lives there, and when he first started renting he informed the owner that he wanted to rent a portion of the apartment to Airbnb guests, which the owner agreed to because she uses Airbnb when she travels.
“The ordinance says she as the homeowner doesn’t have the right to make this deal with me, and it says also that as a renter, I don’t have the right to rent it out. So for somebody like me who can’t afford to buy a house, the new ordinance will create a barrier to entry into the marketplace. I think the ordinance is biased against anyone who can’t afford to buy a home at this point in time,” said Taylor.
As HCV previously reported, the dueling campaigns between the Keep Our Homes and the city has been heating up, with both sides up on TV and sending out campaign literature on a regular basis now.
Taylor was one of many Airbnb hosts who spoke to the council before it ultimately decided on the new regulations.
Over the summer, prior to a final vote, he emphasized to the council that his ability to rent out his apartment has had a positive economic and financial impact on his life and it would be difficult to stay in the city without it.
“What I wanted the council to know is that the short-term rental market is a plus, it’s a positive for working and credit-poor people and for people just trying to make it. I told them it’s a safety net because if you don’t have good credit, or don’t have two months’ rent, you’re going to have a hard time getting an apartment here,” said Taylor.
While Keep Our Homes is clearly running a high-octane operation that isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, city officials remain undeterred in their efforts to see the referendum question pass.
“Jersey City is a great place to live and we need to keep it that way with smart regulations that put residents first. Join me and vote YES on November 5th to protect our neighborhoods,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a mailer that went out last week.