More short-term rentals reopening in North Carolina, New Jersey; Florida short-term rental owners sue governor
- May 12, 2020 | Jennifer Sokolowsky
As state and local governments across the country move toward reopening their economies after COVID-19-related shutdowns, short-term rentals are following suit, especially in resort communities that depend on tourism.
North Carolina local governments give go-ahead to vacation rentals
Several local governments in North Carolina are easing restrictions on short-term rentals as the state eases out of its pandemic shutdown. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that the state would begin the first phase of reopening on May 8, allowing some businesses to reopen with sanitation and social distancing restrictions.
So far, cities that are allowing short-term rentals to resume operations include:
- Atlantic Beach (May 8)
- Carolina Beach (May 8)
- Caswell Beach (May 22)
- Currituck, Dare, and Hyde counties (May 16)
- Emerald Isle (May 9)
- Holden Beach (May 8)
- Madison County (May 8)
- Kure Beach (May 22)
- Sunset Beach (May 22)
- Surf City (May 8)
- Topsail Beach (May 9)
- Wilmington (May 8)
- Wrightsville Beach (May 8). Guests who have been to a state with a stay-at-home order in the past 14 days are prohibited from booking a vacation rental.
Other communities in North Carolina had lifted restrictions on short-term rentals earlier, including Ocean Isle Beach and McDowell County
New Jersey coastal communities make plans for short-term rentals reopening
Along the Jersey Shore, some cities have announced opening dates for short-term rentals. While short-term rentals have not been expressly closed down statewide in New Jersey, a statewide stay-at-home order applies. Governor Phil Murphy has extended that order to June 7.
Leaders in Wildwood and North Wildwood have announced that they will allow vacation rentals to get back to business starting May26.
In Cape May County, meanwhile, a coalition of leaders has submitted a reopening proposal to the governor. That plan would allow short-term rentals to resume operation on June 1.
Currently, municipalities have the option to reopen beaches, except in state parks, but reopening dates for businesses such as retail and restaurants will be determined by the state.
Florida short-term rental operators sue state over closure
The governor shut vacation rentals down March 27, stating that “many cases of COVID-19 in Florida have resulted from individuals coming into the State of Florida from international travel and other states” and that “vacation rentals and third-party platforms advertising vacation rentals in Florida present attractive lodging destinations for individuals coming into Florida.”
DeSantis extended the order through the first phase of the state’s reopening plan, which does not yet have an end date. Hotels, motels, inns, and other short-term accommodations have been allowed to stay open.
The order includes some exemptions, including rentals to guests working as part of military, emergency, government, health, or infrastructure response, as well as travelers engaged in non-vacation commercial activities.
The vacation rental operator plaintiffs say the governor’s ban violates due process, equal protection and other constitutional rights. They seek a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the short-term rental order.