Regulating Short-Term Rentals in the Poconos

SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP -- One part of Monroe County is looking at ways to regulate rules on short-term rentals.

With a boost in popularity of online rental sites, some residents near Marshalls Creek are voicing concerns over the amount of people coming in and out of their community.

Supervisors in Smithfield Township are proposing a new ordinance that would put limits on short-term rentals in residential areas. Some residents have complained that some people rent a house in the area for just a few days but leave a big mess behind.

If you browse through websites such as Air BNB, Home Away, and VRBO, you'll notice a lot of listings for short-term rentals in the Poconos.

John Phillips lives near Marshalls Creek in a development where several homes are often rented out. He says his experience isn't always pleasant.

"I think there should be more restrictions, and basically they are not. They don't care about the people who live here."

After residents in Smithfield Township voiced concerns about the number of people paying to rent homes in the township, officials started to look into ways to regulate short-term rentals.

Township supervisors are working with Monroe County administrators to come up with a plan.

Phillips hopes it restricts rentals in residential areas.

"People value their privacy weekends. It's not a party place. This is where people live."

While some of those homeowners would like to see tighter restrictions on how long you can rent short-term spaces, there are some other people who benefit from having those tourists come in.

Debbie Aponte owns her own cleaning company in the Poconos. She relies on those renters for income.

"I can appreciate people that live here all year and then right next to them is a VRBO rental and they come in and make noise and all that. I can appreciate that. But on the flip side, I have a cleaning business. That's where I get a lot of my business."

Specifics of the new ordinance are being finalized but Smithfield Township supervisors plan to present and pass it in a few weeks at the next meeting.

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