WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield’s town council introduced a revised version of an ordinance that would put regulations on short-term home rentals (such as those done through Airbnb) during its meeting Tuesday night. The ordinance, which was first discussed publicly by the council in March, was changed slightly based on input from the planning board.

“Right now there’s absolutely nothing on our books that would prevent short-term rentals,” Town Attorney Tom Jardim explained in March. “So if anybody’s renting out their home in town the town is really powerless to do anything about it if there turns out to be a problem in the neighborhood. This strikes a balance, in the ordinance, by permitting a certain amount of short-term rentals but also prohibiting certain other things.”

Among the rules included in the ordinance:

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  • Anyone who rents out more than five homes must register with the town.
  • The person offering the short-term rental must be the owner or lessee of the residence. Short-term rental activity may not occur in any accessory building located on the same premises as the residence.
  • There shall be no sign identifying the short-term rental use.
  • Short-term rental use shall be conducted in a manner that does not materially disrupt or adversely affect the town.
  • No equipment or process shall be used in such short-term rental that creates glare, fumes, odors or other nuisance factors.
  • Short-term rentals shall be limited to a maximum of 60 days per year, except in the Central Business District.
  • No short-term rental shall be for a period of more than 30 days, except in the Central Business District.
  • Homeowners may rent out their entire homes. If they rent out just bedrooms, up to two bedrooms may be rented to guests and occupancy shall be limited to two guests per bedroom or four total guests, whichever is less. 
  • Only one party of guests shall be permitted per short-term rental unit.
  • For all short-term rentals, there shall be an in-town property manager available at all times if the owner or operator is out of town during the time of the rental.
  • Certain information must be posted in the rental unit, including phone numbers for police, fire and code enforcement officer; the name and number of the property manager; the maximum number of parking spaces available; and trash and recycling pick-up days.
  • Use of the short-term rentals for commercial or social events shall be prohibited.
  • In no event shall a short-term rental property be rented to anyone younger than 21.

Members of the town council agreed during their conference meeting Tuesday that the ordinance could be updated later as needed.

A frequently asked questions page about the ordinance was posted Tuesday on the town’s website, www.WestfieldNJ.gov.

A public hearing and final vote is planned for the council’s next meeting at 8 p.m. on June 19.