Despite being steps from the shore and in the summer season, rentals are sitting 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 percent surcharge on all short-term rentals of less than 90 days and was originally designed to make reservations that had been 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 sign a bipartisan bill to tweak the bill’s language. Requesting an exemption, they have railed against the law, saying it has 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 for 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.