The Southold Town Board discussed prices for rental permits during Tuesday’s work session.
A new law requires the owners of rental properties to obtain permits, adhere to property maintenance guidelines and allow bi-annual inspections of their rental units. Having a valid certificate of occupancy is a requirement for a rental permit. Violators of the law would face fines.
This requirement was passed in December after several years of debate between Town Board members and the public. Several public hearings brought out crowds of residents voicing concern that the law was too intrusive and would make it difficult for homeowners to rent their properties.
The board agreed to issue two-year permits priced at $100 per year per unit, making the total permit cost $200 for a single rental unit.
They briefly discussed modeling the pricing after fees charged by other towns with similar laws. The possibility of waiving fees for people on the affordable housing list or reducing fees for fire department members was also floated, but board members ultimately considered it too complicated and felt the basic fee of $200 for two years would be an easier way to transition into the new program.
“The most important thing right now is to get this off the ground and to keep this as simple as possible,” Councilwoman Jill Doherty said.
The price is set by resolution, she added, so each year the board can decide if it wants to change the cost or enact special exceptions.
“It can always be more complicated if the circumstances require it, but let’s get this thing running and see how it works,” Councilman Bill Ruland said.
Mr. Ruland added that safety is the top concern, and that having rental permits in place is the most important thing so renters know the unit is safe and approved.
“We need to make sure people are not put in peril,” he said.