MORELAND HILLS — Village Council has taken steps to allay residents’ concerns of strangers in short-term rentals.
After a six-month moratorium, council revised the code to allow for short-term rentals in the village. The code now includes more details on the type of structure that can be rented, who can stay there and additional regulations for property owners.
Residents came to the village with concerns about strangers in their neighborhood, which prompted the moratorium to be put into effect in March. Mayor Susan Renda found out that some properties in the village were used for Airbnb and VRBO from concerned neighbors, who said that the renters did not know the boundary lines for their property and brought additional traffic to private driveways.
Councilman Paul Stanard said that council members, Mayor Renda, Law Director Aimee Lane and Building Commissioner Paul Kowalczyk worked together to hammer out new rules for rentals.
“I’m pleased with council’s performance in regards to this,” Mr. Stanard said. “We took all of the concerns from residents, Aimee, Paul, the council people and the administration and packaged it neatly. It’s very workable.”
Overall, the ordinance does not differentiate between long-term and short-term rentals. The requirements for rental properties are the same no matter how long someone may stay there, Mr. Stanard said. Previously, there was no defined occupancy limit and now the property must comply with occupancy limits set forth in the Ohio Revised Code.
He said that residents challenged the meaning of a “family” staying at a rental property because it was not defined in the code. A family is now defined as “one or more persons occupying a dwelling unit and living as a single housekeeping unit.” The code goes on to say that no family may have more than four unrelated people.
Another new addition is that the property owner is required to show proof of homeowner’s insurance. The property owner is only allowed to rent his or her principal dwelling, which excludes any accessory structures or outbuildings on the property such as cabins or sheds, according to the ordinance.
Residents are not allowed to rent a single room within their principal dwelling. Mr. Stanard said that it did not seem appropriate to rent out individual rooms when the house is within a single family residential district.
In addition, the property owners must give the renters contact information for someone who can resolve issues on the property, such as maintenance.
“There were times when the tenants would call the village and say, ‘This isn’t working, what do I do?’ They need to know who is responsible for that,” Mr. Stanard said.
The initial registration fee for rental properties also increased from $25 to $100. Mr. Stanard said that with the new regulations, there is an increased cost to the building department. The village cannot profit from such fees, Mr. Stanard said, and the increased fee is to cover the village’s costs.
“If we find further issues, we have the right to revisit this and make changes,” he added.