Shore homeowners urge governor to sign bill tweaking short term rental tax

Despite being steps from the shore during the summer season, shore rentals sit unused and empty. The owners say a tax on short-term rentals that went into effect in 2018 is to blame. The tax adds a nearly 12% surcharge on all short-term rentals lasting less than 90 days and was originally designed to make reservations made through home-sharing platforms like Airbnb and VRBO subject to the same taxes as hotels and motels.

Begging for action, shore rental owners sent a letter this week urging Gov. Phil Murphy to a sign a bipartisan bill to tweak the bill’s language. They’ve railed against the law requesting an exemption, saying it’s drastically hurt their ability to rent and unfairly carved out the tax for real estate brokers. And there’s a trickle-down effect, say business owners. Vacant weekly rentals mean less money spent at local shops.

Lawmakers unanimously passed a revision last month, but as summer hits the middle-mark, they’re still waiting on the governor to sign it. Meanwhile at least two Republican lawmakers issued statements this week calling on Murphy to sign the revised bill. Saying it’s an about-face from his previous position.

The state estimates it could collect up to $8 million in revenue in the first year of this tax.