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Monday March 19, 2018


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Committee Considers Citations from New "Party-Rental" Ordinance

One month after the Township Committee approved an ordinance to prevent and cease the Airbnb one-night party rentals, the Committee provided a follow up and status update.

Resident Brett Borowski asked the Committee how many violations the police had processed for the now-infamous Kildee Road home and other illegal one-day rental events in the township. He asked the timeframe for Montgomery to collect on fines and summons payments. "I want to understand how the process will unfold because I heard there were some inoffensive parties but still violations since then at 129 Kildee Road. How is the enforcement progressing, and have the rentals stopped?" Borowski asked.
Township Attorney Kristina Hadinger answered that the responsible party would first need to be found guilty in municipal court through the regular process. She confirmed that MTPD has issued several citations to the 129 Kildee homeowners and they would expect the three weeks to one month timeline for court appearances, or adjournments were possible.
Mayor Ed Trzaska said the township learned that since August 3, a number of events scheduled for 129 Kildee rented through Airbnb had been cancelled "due to the new ordinance and our communications with the property manager."
This issue stems from multiple neighborhood disturbances at 129 Kildee Road in Skillman in early summer. The home is owned by Frank and Wendy Ellmo, who live in Tennessee, and was rented through Airbnb. It's been foreclosure from deed holder Wells Fargo Bank, and Montgomery officials had contacted both Wells Fargo offices and the Ellmos about the property's misuse and accumulated violations.
Township Administrator Donato Nieman says it essentially gives MTPD officers a necessary tool for enforcement if a party or event disturbs the neighborhood. The scope of penalty and enforcement was still a question.

Mayor Trzaska said there is language in the ordinance addressing physical or local advertisements within Montgomery but not restricting items posted on a national website. "Unfortunately we don't have that jurisdiction but there is language around violations of advertising in town - a national website is beyond our control or reach," he told Borowski.

Borowski asked if a property owner could be penalized for the advertisement on Airbnb, and Hadinger quickly said the same violation and citation is already in place "if a rental occurs."

Borowski said on his own, he contacted the company and received an "unsatisfactory response" on policy and management behind its listings. He told the Committee in a letter, Airbnb stated it would decline a negotiation with homeowners "in a dispute like this." Borowski is eager to see listings taken down through site administration or property owners/managers to prevent incidents of pop-up party rentals.
Hadinger said she wasn't sure Airbnb will respond directly to Montgomery officials on installing ordinance-compliant listings. "It is really up to the property owner, manager or a property contractor to adjust," she said.  

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