Airbnb controversy in the Poconos

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PARADISE TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Unlicensed short-term rentals are causing trouble in Paradise according to Paradise Township supervisors.

Paradise Township is considering enforcement on short-term rentals and possibly changing the ordinance.

Paradise Township Board Supervisors Chair Gary Konrath says some residents complain about the noise, trash, and general nuisance associated with short-term rentals. But he says the unlicensed properties are the problem.

In Paradise Township there are 17 licensed short-term rental properties and five unlicensed. He says those five are the subject of most of the complaints.

“I think we have to go after the folks that do not have licenses and if the planning commission comes back and says they recommend that it’s not in residential districts any longer, that’s something the board would seriously consider,” Konrath said.

For the township, unlicensed rentals are a hazard. The homes may not be inspected and when they exceed occupancy it overwhelms the septic system. The short-term rental industry is controversial throughout Monroe County.

In Mount Pocono, Joe Simeone says he wants to move because of the short-term rental property next door.

“Someone purchased the house and then they put it on Airbnb and Vrbo, and it’s been a total nightmare. There have been nights when I’ve been woken up at two in the morning on a Tuesday, in the middle of the week, it doesn’t matter, these people come here just to party,” Simeone said.

Amy Young runs business offering concierge services for rentals like cleaning and maintenance. But as a local herself, she understands the complaints. She believes the industry can have positive impacts on the local economy, creating opportunities for contractors, cleaning services, and rental agencies. But they have to be managed properly.

“The best thing is to just vet your guests, make sure that they’re reputable, make sure they have good intentions, make sure they’re not going to throw a party, and they’re going to be respectful of neighbors. Come up with basic rules and guidelines for your house,” Young said.

Marion Gaeta, a real estate broker for 20 years, says it’s better for everyone to rent through a licensed brokerage rather than an online platform like Airbnb because you know it will be licensed.

The planning commission will present suggestions for Paradise Township supervisors in the coming months.

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