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A local law to regulate Short Term Rentals in the Town of Caroga, New York. This Ordinance is adopted pursuant to the authority granted the Town of Caroga in Section 10 of the Municipal Home Rule Law and shall be cited as Local Law 2 of 2019, Town of Caroga Short Term Rental Ordinance.
Be it enacted by the Town Board of the Town of Caroga as follows:
§ 1 Title.
Town of Caroga Short Term Rental Ordinance
§ 2 Purpose:
The Town of Caroga recognizes that the use of previously existing homes—particularly seasonal use properties--for rental purposes causes an increase in the use of such properties and the demands placed upon systems integral to use of said properties; and, the Town further recognizes that inadequate provision for light and air, insufficient protection against the defective provision for escape from fire, and improper sanitation could result from said increased use. The Town considers that establishment and maintenance of proper housing standards which require sufficient light, air, sanitation, and protection from fire hazards are essential to public welfare; and, in order to protect the health, safety, morals, welfare and reasonable comfort of residents in and visitors to the Town of Caroga, the Town intends this ordinance to regulate the short-term rental of properties in the Town.
§ 3 Short-Term Rental:
A dwelling unit that is rented, in whole or part, to any person or entity for a period of less than 30 consecutive nights and is not regulated by any other section of the Code of the Town of Caroga. "Rental" means an agreement granting use or possession of a residence, in whole or part, to a person or group in exchange for consideration valued in money, goods, labor, credits, or other valuable consideration. Use of a short-term rental by a record owner of a property shall not be considered to be a rental under this section.
§ 4 Short Term Rental Regulation:
A. Permit required: An owner shall obtain a revocable short-term rental permit whenever a dwelling unit is to be used for short-term rental purposes.
(1) A short-term rental permit shall be obtained prior to using the unit as a short-term rental.
(2) A short-term rental permit shall be valid for three calendar years, shall expire on December 31 of the third year it is in effect, and must be renewed upon expiration as long as the unit is used as a short-term rental.
(3) The short-term rental permit is transferable to a new owner, so long as the owner registers with the Town, updates the short-term rental permit application, and agrees in writing to comply with the requirements of the short-term rental permit and these regulations.
(4) If the terms of the short-term rental permit are not kept or these regulations not followed, the short-term rental permit may be revoked and the owner subject to the penalties set forth below.
B. Short-term rental permit application requirements: An application for (or renewal of) a short-term rental permit shall be submitted to the Town Code Enforcement Officer; signed by all persons and entities that have an ownership interest in the subject property; shall be accompanied by payment of a permit fee to be determined by the Town Board by resolution and will be levied by payment of a permit fee on file with the Town Clerk; shall be accompanied by a copy of the current vesting deed showing how title to the subject property is then held; shall be completed on the form provided by the Town; and shall provide the following information:
(1) A list of all of the property owners of the short-term rental, including names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.
(2) Affidavit certifications:
(a) Completion of a signed and notarized affidavit by the property owners certifying the following:
 Compliance with the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code and the following standards:
[a] There shall be one functioning smoke detector in each sleeping room and at least one functioning smoke detector in at least one other room, one functioning fire extinguisher in the kitchen and at each exit, and at least one carbon monoxide detector.
[b] Exterior doors shall be operational, and all passageways to exterior doors shall be clear and unobstructed.
[c] Electrical systems shall be serviceable with no visual defects or unsafe conditions.
[d] All fireplaces, fireplace inserts, or other fuel-burning heaters and furnaces shall be vented and properly installed.
[e] Each sleeping room shall have an exterior exit that opens directly to the outside, or an emergency escape or rescue window.
 The number of sleeping rooms within the short-term rental, as defined in this section.
 The number of parking spaces on the property, which shall meet the standards set forth in the Town of Caroga Zoning Ordinance, effective January 1, 2019 [ART. VI(A) and (B)], and as set forth, below.
(b) Affidavit certifications shall be valid during the term of the short-term rental permit, or until modifications requiring a building permit are made, or until the Town Code Enforcement Officer has reason to believe an inspection is warranted, at which point the Code Enforcement Officer shall obtain a search warrant to conduct such inspection unless an owner of the property voluntarily consents to permit the Code Enforcement Officer onto the property and into the short-term rental for purposes of conducting such inspection. If relevant circumstances on the property change or for any reason the certification is or becomes inaccurate, a new certification shall be submitted.
(3) A site plan, drawn to scale, showing the location of buildings, required parking and, if not served by a public sewer, the location of the septic system and leach field. An accurate, suitable plan need not be prepared by a professional.
(4) If the property is served by a private septic system, a septic inspection report must be issued pursuant to laws and regulations of the Town of Caroga, dated within 90 days of the date of the application, stating the size of the tank(s) and leach or absorption field or area, and the location and condition of all septic system components; or in the event an alternate form of sewage containing or removal is in place, any and all required permits, certifications or inspection results applicable to that system as shall be required by the Town of Caroga. The report must state the septic system was adequately functioning at the time of inspection. The septic system must be in compliance with the laws and regulations of the Town of Caroga and applicable New York State agencies, and the maximum occupancy of the short-term rental unit shall be limited by the number of bedrooms allowed for the size of the septic tank and leach or absorption area, or other sewage treatment, storage and/or removal system as set forth in the regulations of the New York State Department of Health, Appendix 75-A of Part 75 of Title 10 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations, as amended, and regulations and/or standards applicable to aerobic septic systems. A system failure may result in loss of existing Short-Term Rental Permit and will require a new passing inspection report prior to issuance or reinstatement of Permit. The Town of Caroga Code Enforcement Officer may allow occupancy in excess of these regulations and standards if circumstances show the system will adequately function for an allowed occupancy, and may condition any variance on certain actions and safeguards by the owner, such as frequent pumping of the septic tank or further periodic inspection by the Town Code Enforcement Officer or designee.
(5) The name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of a contact person, who shall be responsible, and authorized, to act on the owner's behalf to promptly remedy any violation of these standards or the permit. The contact person may be the owner, or an agent designated by the owner to serve as a contact person.
(6) A statement that the applicant has met and will continue to comply with the standards of these regulations and the permit.
C. Short-term rental standards: All short-term rentals shall meet the following standards:
(1) The maximum occupancy for each short-term rental unit shall be the smaller of:
(a) The maximum number of people allowed based on the septic inspection report, if applicable; or
(b) The number of people calculated on the basis of two persons per sleeping room (unless the room size is below 100 square feet), plus an additional two persons. For this purpose, a sleeping room is defined as fully enclosed habitable space of at least 70 square feet for one person and 100 square feet for two persons, with a fully operational emergency escape or rescue opening.
(2) The property must have sufficient off-street parking spaces to accommodate the maximum occupancy.
(3) Tenants and guests shall park in the off-street parking spaces and shall not park on any part of the lawn of the property nor on the street.
(4) A house number visible from the street or road shall be maintained.
(5) Provisions shall be made for weekly garbage removal during rental periods. Garbage containers shall be secured with tight-fitting covers at all times to prevent leakage, spilling or odors, and placed where they are not clearly visible from the street or road except around pickup time.
(6) Advertisements for the short-term rental must conform to what is allowed under these regulations and the short-term rental permit.
D. Procedure upon filing application:
(1) Upon the filing with the Town of Caroga Code Enforcement Officer of the permit application, permit fee, and all documents and information required by this chapter, the Town Code Enforcement Officer shall have 30 days to review the application and then either issue the permit, with or without conditions, or notify the applicant in writing that the application has been denied, along with the reason or reasons for denial. If a permit is issued, the permit shall bear the signature of the Town of Caroga Code Enforcement Officer.
(2) In reviewing the application, if the Town Code Enforcement Officer has cause to believe information contained in the application is inaccurate or incomplete, he or she may request permission from an owner of the short-term rental to conduct an inspection of the short-term rental property for purposes of ensuring compliance with this section.
(3) In issuing a short-term rental permit, the Town of Caroga Code Enforcement Officer may impose such reasonable conditions and restrictions as are directly related to and incidental to the use of the property for short-term rentals so long as such conditions and restrictions are consistent with the requirements of the Town Zoning Law or other applicable laws of the Town of Caroga and are imposed for the purpose of minimizing any adverse impact the issuance of the short-term rental permit may have on the neighborhood or community.
(4) The Town Code Enforcement Officer may decline an application for any of the following reasons:
(a) If the application is incomplete, the documentation required by this chapter was not included with the application, or the full permit fee, in payment form acceptable to the Town Clerk, was not included with the application.
(b) If the Town of Caroga issued a short-term rental permit to any of the owners needing to sign the short-term rental permit application and any of such owners had a short-term rental permit revoked within the previous year.
(c) If the affidavit from the owners or, if conducted, an inspection conducted by the Town Code Enforcement Officer as authorized in this section, does not evidence that the subject property is in compliance with this chapter or with the applicable laws of the Town of Caroga or New York State.
(d) If the site plan required to be submitted with the application does not comport with the requirements of this section.
(e) If a private septic inspection report is required to be submitted with the application and if such report does not comport with the requirements of this section or with the applicable laws of the Town of Caroga or New York State.
(5) Short-term rental permits issued pursuant to this section shall state the following:
(a) The names, addresses and phone numbers of every person or entity that has an ownership interest in the short-term rental property and of a primary contact person who shall be available during the entire time the short-term rental property is being rented;
(b) The maximum occupancy and vehicle limits for the short-term rental unit;
(c) Identification of the number of and location of parking spaces available;
(d) A statement that littering is illegal;
(e) A statement that all fires must be attended;
(f) A statement that guests must comply with any applicable Noise Ordinance of the Town of Caroga;
(g) A statement that the short-term rental permit may be revoked for violations;
(h) Any conditions imposed by the Town Code Enforcement Officer; and
(i) That the permit shall expire on December 31 of the third year for which it is effective.
E. Conformity and display of permit.
(1) The issuance of a short-term rental permit is subject to continued compliance with the requirements of these regulations.
(2) Prior to any tenants coming onto the short-term rental property:
(a) The current short-term rental permit shall be prominently displayed inside and near the front entrance of the short-term rental; and
(b) A copy of the current short-term rental permit shall be provided to every adjacent property owner and to every property owner within 150 feet of the short-term rental property (whether on the same side of the road, across the street or behind the subject property). A statement of compliance with this provision, stating the owners served, and their addresses, and the method of service (e.g., mail, personal delivery), shall be provided to the Town of Caroga Code Enforcement Officer.
(3) The owners must ensure that current and accurate information is provided to the Town of Caroga Code Enforcement Officer and that they notify the Town of Caroga Code Enforcement Officer immediately upon any information contained on the permit changing. If, based on such changes, the Code Enforcement Officer issues an amended short-term rental permit, the owners must immediately replace the permit displayed inside and near the front entrance of the short-term rental with the amended permit and must immediately provide a copy of the amended permit to every adjacent property owner and to every property owner within 150 feet of the short-term rental property (whether on the same side of the road, across the street or behind the subject property).
F. Compliance, hearings and penalties. Owners of short-term rental units shall obey all applicable laws, ordinances and regulations of the Town of Caroga, Fulton County, New York State and the United States of America, and shall be subject to the enforcement and penalty proceedings contained in this chapter. The following process shall be followed in the event of a complaint alleging a violation of these regulations or a permit issued under these regulations:
(1) The complaining party shall first attempt to contact the contact person designated on the permit, describe the problem and indicate the desired remedy.
(2) The contact person shall, within two hours of receiving the complaint, respond to the complaint and remedy as soon as reasonably possible any situation that is out of compliance with these regulations or with the permit for the property.
(3) If the response is not satisfactory to the complaining party (including the inability to promptly reach the contact person), the complaining party may file a complaint with the Town of Caroga Code Enforcement Officer by submitting a written complaint including the date, time and nature of the alleged violation as well as a statement that the complainant either unsuccessfully attempted to contact the contact person or did contact the contact person but the complaint was not adequately resolved. A failure to attempt to contact the contact person will not excuse a violation.
(4) If the Town Code Enforcement Officer finds a violation of the permit or of this section, the Code Enforcement Officer may do any of the following depending on the circumstances:
(a) Attach reasonable conditions to the existing short-term rental permit;
(b) Suspend the short-term rental permit; and
(c) Revoke the short-term rental permit.
(5) Should a permit be revoked, none of the owners of the short-term rental property may obtain any short-term rental permit sooner than one year after the date of revocation.
(6) The Town may initiate enforcement proceedings under this chapter at any time following receipt of a complaint.
(7) Decisions of the Code Enforcement Officer will be provided to the parties and may be appealed, within 30 days of receipt of the decision, by the owner or by the complainant to the Town Zoning Board of Appeals. The appealing owner or complainant shall make a written request for a hearing to the Town Clerk, and the Zoning Board of Appeals shall hear the appeal within 15 days of the request, during which time the decision of the Code Enforcement Officer shall be stayed. At the hearing, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall accept evidence offered by the property owner, the complaining party, the Code Enforcement Officer and any other witness with relevant evidence. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall make its decision within 10 days of the hearing, and may uphold the Code Enforcement Officer's decision, reject it, or modify it.
(8) Any property owner found in willful violation of the provisions of this section shall be required to reimburse the Town for its reasonable costs of enforcement, including reimbursement for staff time and reasonable attorney's fees.
§ 5. Severability
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or part of this Local Law shall be adjudged by any Court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgement shall not effect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof.
§ 6. Effective Date
This Law shall take effect immediately upon its filing with the New York Secretary of State and remain in full force until repealed or otherwise amended in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, including but not limited to the New York Municipal Home Rule Law and Statute of Local Governments.