Short-Term Rentals Cause Problems

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Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to Onancock’s allowance of homestays, short-term rentals, or more commonly referred to as Airbnb rentals. As a full-time resident in an agricultural district outside of Quinby, I am now dealing with a neighbor who has decided to rent his home on the Airbnb website. This started in the fall of 2020.

From the first rental, I encountered problems despite the fact there is a 4-foot fence between our properties. I have had uninvited Airbnb guests in our yard, on our beach, and in our greenhouse. While these people meant no harm, it is an invasion of my family’s privacy.

The thing I think Onancock and Accomack County are missing is that now the neighboring property owners to these rentals will have new neighbors with pets daily or weekly, meaning that there is someone next door continually coming and going at all hours of the day and night and who may not show consideration for neighboring residents.

Usually the renters come in at least two to three cars. I’ve had as many as eight to nine people staying next door at one time. The Airbnb guests are also on vacation, so it’s like the Fourth of July every few days with each new group! What is the neighboring residential property owner’s recourse when issues arise and the property owner is nowhere onsite? Do you call police or your town or county elected representative?

If the towns and counties continue to allow these type of rentals in districts other than business districts, they are doing a real disservice to the resident citizens of their respective towns and counties. If this rental practice continues to operate in residential areas, it also offers unfair competition to the local hotels, motels, and other venues which operate in designated business districts. If the rationale for allowing this type rental is purely monetary I would suggest the towns and county to search the Airbnb website for unauthorized rentals already in existence and collect from them now!

Reade Bonniwell,
Quinby