BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The City of Buffalo is pressing pause on adding more Airbnb’s and short term rentals to certain neighborhoods, after concerns there’s too many of them. The Buffalo Common Council approved a temporary moratorium on short-term rental permits in select districts.
“The Council recognizes the pressing need to address the concerns raised by our constituents regarding short-term rentals,” stated Fillmore District Council Member Mitch Nowakowski. “The moratorium on Special Use Permits is a necessary step to evaluate the existing and pending short-term rentals and ensure they comply with updated regulations, ultimately fostering neighborhood stability and harmony.”
Nowakowski says there’s been an increase in the amount of short term rentals in his district, specifically in Allentown. He says people who live in this neighborhood are asking him, ‘where are the residents?'”
“They’re also asking me, ‘do we now live or will live in a hotel district?'” He said.
Nowakowski said there could be thousands of short-term rental units in his district that are not up to zoning code.
“There are thousands of unregistered short-term rentals so we don’t know if these rental units are up to code, if they adhere to New York State building standards,” Nowakowski said. “If there’s ingress and egress, if there are fire exits so we don’t know if the units that consumers are purchasing for short-term rental are even safe, and we need to get those properties into compliance as well.”
Short-term rental units have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, but Nowakowski says there’s a downside. He says people who live in neighborhoods with a lot of short-term rentals say they’re losing a sense of community.
“What we’re seeing in urban neighborhoods and areas, like Allen, is it’s completely wiping out and exacerbating the affordable housing crisis where rental units, instead of going for 900/1,000 bucks, landlords can get $3,200 for a unit for only renting it out for a couple of days, which completely takes those rental units off the market,” Nowakowski said. “When you’re building a neighborhood, you need to have density and you need to have neighbors.”
“What happens when you have 10, 20, 30, 40 of those in one specific neighborhood and I think that’s what’s happening in the Fillmore District in the Allentown neighborhood, you’re getting quite a few in that neighborhood and I’d like to nip it in the bud,” councilmember Joe Golombek said.
Under the resolution, the City of Buffalo will halt the issuance of Special Use Permits for short-term rentals in the Fillmore, North, and South districts until the City of Buffalo, Department of Permit and Inspection Services, and the Buffalo Common Council can confirm that all existing and pending short-term rentals comply with updated regulations.
The temporary moratorium is in effect until Dec. 31 in the Fillmore, North and South districts.