Huntington Short-Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Huntington, New York

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Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in Huntington

The Town of Huntington in Suffolk County, New York, has strict regulations on short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. In 2019, the town board amended the town code to restrict short-term rentals and establish a permit and registry program.

Under the rules, it is unlawful to use, establish, maintain, operate, occupy, rent, or lease any property as a short-term rental without first obtaining a short-term rental permit from the town. The property must be owner-occupied and the owner's principal residence. Rentals are limited to a maximum of 90 days per calendar year.

To get a permit, owners must submit an application with a $500 fee, provide proof of ownership and principal residence, a detailed site plan and floor plans, and certify compliance with all building, fire, zoning, and town codes. The town conducts an on-site inspection before issuing a permit.

Short-term rental hosts must also collect and remit Suffolk County and New York State sales taxes, which total 13.25%. This is on top of Huntington's 3% hotel/motel occupancy tax, for a total tax rate of 16.25% on short-term rentals.

The town code prohibits short-term rentals that create hazards, public nuisances, or other conditions that negatively impact neighbors or the surrounding community. Violations can result in fines starting at $1000 and escalating for repeat offenses. Permits can be revoked for non-compliance.

Huntington officials say the law aims to prevent the proliferation of "mini-hotels" in residential neighborhoods while still allowing homeowners to rent out their properties occasionally. However, critics argue the rules are overly restrictive and burdensome, making it very difficult for hosts to legally operate short-term rentals.

On local forums, some Huntington residents have complained that the permit process is complex and that the town is slow to approve applications. Others say the 90-day annual limit is not enough to justify the permit fees and startup costs. A few hosts admit to operating "under the radar" without a permit but say it's very risky given the town's active enforcement and steep fines.

So, in summary, while it's still possible to start an Airbnb business in Huntington, the town's strict regulations pose major challenges. Hosts must carefully weigh the costs and risks of compliance against the potential income. Many say the current rules make short-term renting unviable and push the practice underground. Town officials believe the law strikes the right balance, but it remains controversial among homeowners and the short-term rental industry.

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Huntington

In 2019, the Town of Huntington amended its code to establish a permit and registry system for short-term rentals. Under the new rules, operating a short-term rental is unlawful without obtaining a permit from the town's Department of Public Safety.

To apply for a short-term rental permit, property owners must submit a completed application along with a non-refundable $500 fee. The application requires detailed information about the property, including proof of ownership, a site plan, floor plans, and certification that the dwelling complies with all applicable building, fire, zoning, and town codes.

Applicants must also provide evidence that the short-term rental is the owner's primary residence. This can include a driver's license, voter registration card, or utility bills showing the owner's name and address. The town conducts an on-site inspection of the property before issuing a permit to verify compliance with all requirements.

Short-term rental permits are valid for a period of two years, after which owners must apply for renewal. The renewal process involves submitting an updated application, paying a $200 fee, and undergoing another home property inspection. Permit holders must also maintain a registry of all short-term rental guests and make it available to the town upon request.

The town code sets forth several standards that permitted short-term rentals must meet. The property must have sufficient off-street parking, with a minimum of one space per rental bedroom plus two for the owner's use. Bedrooms must meet minimum size requirements based on occupancy. No more than two bedrooms may be used for short-term rentals, and stays are limited to a maximum of 90 days per calendar year.

Failure to obtain or renew a required short-term rental permit can result in significant penalties. The town may impose fines of $1000 for a first offense, $2000 for a second offense, and $5000 plus possible imprisonment for subsequent violations. The town attorney is authorized to take legal action to shut down unpermitted short-term rentals.

Critics of Huntington's short-term rental law argue the licensing requirements are overly burdensome and make it very difficult for owners to legally rent out their homes on a short-term basis. Some have complained the $500 permit fee is excessive, especially given the 90-day annual rental limit. Others say the town is slow to process applications and conduct inspections, delaying owners' ability to start renting.

Despite the controversy, Huntington's short-term rental permit requirement remains in effect. Town officials maintain the law is necessary to protect public safety and quality of life in residential neighborhoods. Proponents say the licensing system ensures short-term rentals meet basic standards without unduly restricting owners' property rights.

Required Documents for Huntington Short-Term Rentals

Property owners must submit a completed application along with several required documents to apply for a short-term rental permit in the Town of Huntington. The application form can be obtained from the town's Department of Public Safety website or office.

One of the key documents is proof of ownership and residency. Applicants must provide a copy of the deed or tax bill showing their name and the rental property address. They must also submit evidence that the short-term rental is their primary residence, such as a driver's license, voter registration card, or utility bills in their name.

Another important requirement is a detailed site plan or survey of the property. This must show the location and dimensions of the rental unit, all parking spaces, and any outdoor areas accessible to guests. Applicants must also provide a floor plan of the rental unit, clearly label each room, and indicate any proposed changes or renovations.

To demonstrate compliance with building and fire safety codes, applicants need to submit a certificate of occupancy for the rental unit. They must also provide affidavits certifying the installation and maintenance of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in each bedroom and common area. Proof of annual chimney cleaning and inspection is required if the unit has a fireplace or other heating source.

Applicants must provide the name and contact information of a local agent or representative who will be available 24/7 to respond to any issues or emergencies at the rental property. This person must live within 15 miles of the property and be authorized to make decisions on the owner's behalf.

The application also requires proof of sufficient liability insurance coverage for the specific use of the property as a short-term rental. Owners must maintain a minimum of $1,000,000 in general liability insurance and provide a copy of the policy declaration page with their permit application.

Finally, applicants must sign an affidavit certifying that all information provided is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge. They must also agree to abide by all town regulations governing short-term rentals, including occupancy limits, parking requirements, noise restrictions, and tax collection obligations.

The Town of Huntington's Department of Public Safety reviews each short-term rental application and contacts the owner to schedule a property inspection. If any deficiencies are identified, the owner must correct them before a permit will be issued. Once approved, the town provides a permit number that must be included in all rental listings and advertisements.

Huntington Short-Term Rental Taxes

In addition to the strict regulations on short-term rentals, the Town of Huntington also imposes taxes on any permitted rentals under 30 days. Short-term rental operators are required to collect and remit several state and local taxes.

At the state level, New York imposes a 4% sales tax and a 5% occupancy tax on short-term rentals for a combined tax rate of 9%. Suffolk County, where Huntington is located, levies an additional 4.25% sales tax. So, the total state and county tax rate on short-term rentals in Huntington is 13.25%.

On top of the state and county taxes, the Town of Huntington charges its own 3% hotel/motel occupancy tax on all rentals under 30 days. This brings the total tax rate for short-term rentals in Huntington to 16.25%.

Short-term rental hosts are responsible for registering with the appropriate state and local tax authorities and collecting and remitting the taxes monthly or quarterly, depending on the amount of tax collected. Failure to comply with the tax requirements can result in penalties and interest charges.

The high tax rates, strict regulations, and permitting requirements make operating a short-term rental in Huntington quite challenging and costly. Hosts must carefully consider all the compliance obligations and weigh them against the potential rental income before deciding to engage in short-term renting.

It's important to note that the tax rules for short-term rentals are complex and subject to change. Hosts should consult with a local tax professional to ensure they are meeting all their tax obligations. The town and state tax authorities also provide guidance and resources for short-term rental operators to help them navigate the tax requirements.

Overall, the layers of state, county, and town taxes imposed on short-term rentals in Huntington reflect the local government's efforts to closely regulate and derive revenue from the growing vacation rental industry. For hosts, the taxes represent a significant expense that must be factored into the costs of running a short-term rental business in the town.

New York Wide Short-Term Rental Rules

While New York City has some of the strictest short-term rental regulations in the state, there are also statewide laws that apply to Airbnb and other vacation rental platforms. The New York State Multiple Dwelling Law is the primary legislation governing short-term rentals across the state.

Under the Multiple Dwelling Law, buildings with three or more units are considered "Class A" multiple dwellings and are intended for permanent residency only. This means that renting out an entire apartment for less than 30 days is prohibited in these buildings, unless the permanent tenant is present during the guest's stay.

The law does make an exception for "Class B" multiple dwellings, which include hotels, hostels, rooming houses, and bed and breakfasts. These types of accommodations are specifically zoned and approved for short-term transient occupancy.

Another key aspect of the statewide short-term rental laws relates to taxation. New York State defines short-term rentals as stays of fewer than 90 consecutive days for tax purposes. Hosts are required to collect and remit state sales tax, New York City hotel room occupancy tax, and other local taxes as applicable.

It's important to note that while the state sets the overall framework, many cities and towns have their own additional short-term rental regulations. For example, Suffolk County requires short-term rental properties to be registered and licensed, with violations subject to fines. The city of Buffalo also has a permit requirement and charges different fees for owner-occupied vs. non-owner-occupied short-term rentals.

So, in summary, the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law prohibits short-term rentals under 30 days in most apartment buildings, unless the host is present. Hotels and legitimate B&Bs are exempt. Hosts must also comply with state and local tax collection requirements. However, many local governments impose additional registration, licensing, and zoning rules on top of the state regulations. Hosts need to carefully research all state and local laws before listing their property on sites like Airbnb to avoid violations and penalties.

Does Huntington Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions in online forums like Reddit and BiggerPockets, it appears that the Town of Huntington does actively enforce its strict short-term rental regulations. Many hosts and homeowners have shared stories of receiving violation notices and hefty fines from the town for operating unlicensed Airbnbs or other short-term rentals.

One Huntington resident on Reddit said they listed their spare room on Airbnb to help pay for home repairs, but a neighbor reported them to the town after just two bookings. The host was slapped with a $1000 fine and ordered to immediately cease all short-term rental activity or face additional penalties of $2000 per violation.

Another host on BiggerPockets shared a similar experience. They had been successfully renting out their Huntington home on Airbnb for over a year when they received a notice from the town that a complaint had been filed. An inspector showed up unannounced and found the property did not have a valid short-term rental permit. The host was fined $2500 and their rental income seized to cover the town's enforcement costs.

Compared to some other Long Island towns, Huntington seems to be one of the least friendly to short-term rentals. While places like Southampton and Riverhead allow limited short-term renting with a permit, Huntington has taken a harder line. The 90-day annual rental cap and the strict owner-occupancy requirement make it very difficult for most hosts to operate legally.

That said, some hosts undoubtedly continue to rent short-term under the radar in Huntington. With sky-high Long Island property taxes and mortgages, the temptation to earn extra income from Airbnb can be strong. But the consensus on the forums is that it's extremely risky. The town has a dedicated enforcement unit that actively monitors short-term rental listings and cracks down on violators.

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in Huntington

Here are the key steps an aspiring short-term rental host in Huntington would need to follow, though significant barriers exist:

  • Carefully review Huntington's short-term rental law in Chapter 160 of the Town Code. Understand that rentals under 30 days are prohibited unless the property is owner-occupied and a permit is obtained. Rentals are limited to 90 days per calendar year.
  • Confirm your property is eligible for a short-term rental permit. It must be your primary residence, in a zone that allows residential use, and in full compliance with all building, fire, and town codes. Consult the Building Department if unsure.
  • Apply for a Short-Term Rental permit from the Department of Public Safety. This involves:
  • Submitting a completed application with a non-refundable $500 fee, plus detailed site plans, floor plans, and proof of ownership and residency.
  • Agreeing to a property inspection to verify compliance with all town requirements. Remedying any violations before a permit will be issued.
  • Provide the name and contact info of a local agent, such as a property manager or co-host, who is available 24/7 to respond to any issues if you live outside Suffolk County.
  • Showing proof of sufficient liability insurance coverage for short-term rental use.
  • If approved, your permit will be valid for 2 years. Create your rental listing in compliance with the permit conditions, including the 90-day annual limit and 2-bedroom maximum. Prominently post your permit number on all advertisements.
  • Diligently collect and remit the required taxes: 3% Huntington hotel/motel occupancy tax, 4% NY state sales tax, 5% state occupancy tax, and 4.25% Suffolk County sales tax (total 16.25%).
  • Maintain active compliance with all town rental regulations, swiftly addressing any complaints or violations. Be prepared for inspections. Fines start at $1000 and escalate for repeat offenses. Your permit can be revoked for non-compliance.
  • After 2 years, apply to renew your permit, which involves a $200 fee, updated documentation, and a new property inspection. Permits are not transferable if you sell the property.

Huntington's strict, short-term rental law, 90-day annual cap, and rigorous permit requirements pose major hurdles to starting a short-term rental business. The town has made it clear unpermitted rentals will not be tolerated. While a limited short-term rental may be possible for owner-occupants willing to navigate the complex rules, most of the barriers are too high to be worthwhile. The law has effectively pushed STRs out of Huntington in favor of long-term tenants and hotels.

Who to Contact in Huntington about Short-Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

If you have questions about short-term rental regulations or zoning in the Town of Huntington, there are several key contacts and departments you should reach out to:

Huntington Department of Public Safety - This department handles the short-term rental permit application process and enforcement. You can contact them at:

Phone: 631-351-3234
Address: 100 Main St, Huntington, NY 11743
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm

Huntington Building Division - For questions about building codes, certificates of occupancy, and safety requirements for short-term rentals, contact the Building Division at:

Phone: 631-351-3167
Address: 100 Main St, Room 115, Huntington, NY 11743

Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals - If you need a variance or special exception from the short-term rental zoning rules, you'll need to apply to the ZBA. Contact them at:

Phone: 631-351-3196
Address: 100 Main St, Room 212, Huntington, NY 11743

Huntington Town Attorney's Office - For legal questions about the short-term rental law and how it applies to your property, you can reach out to the Town Attorney at:

Phone: 631-351-3042
Address: 100 Main St, Room 200, Huntington, NY 11743

Before contacting any department, reviewing the relevant sections of the Town Code is a good idea. The short-term rental law is in Chapter 160, Article IV. You can access the Town Code on the town's website.

If you're not sure which department to call, start with the Department of Public Safety, as they handle the permitting process and can direct you to the right personnel for your specific question. When you call, have your property address and Suffolk County Tax Map number ready.

The Town of Huntington's staff are generally very responsive to resident inquiries about short-term rentals. You can get the most current and accurate information about the rules and procedures for legally operating a short-term rental in the town by contacting the appropriate departments. The town is committed to working with property owners while ensuring the law is followed.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Huntington on Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think about Local Regulations?

Discussions on Reddit and Bigger Pockets reveal that Airbnb hosts in Huntington have mixed feelings about the town's strict short-term rental regulations. Some see the need for oversight to preserve neighborhood character, while others feel the rules are overly burdensome and stifle their ability to earn income from their properties. Here are a few key perspectives:

On the Airbnb subreddit, user HuntingtonHost shared their frustration with the town's 90-day annual rental limit. They argued that the cap makes it very difficult to justify the expense and effort of obtaining a permit and operating a short-term rental. Many hosts agreed, saying the limit is too low to generate meaningful income, especially given the high cost of living on Long Island.

However, another Reddit user, LongIslandResident, defended the regulations, noting that unchecked short-term rentals can lead to quality of life issues for neighbors, like noise, parking problems, and a revolving door of strangers in residential areas. They appreciated the town's efforts to strike a balance between allowing limited rentals and preventing homes from turning into de facto hotels.

Opinions were similarly divided on Bigger Pockets, a popular real estate investing forum. User LIAirbnbInvestor said Huntington's rules have made it nearly impossible to cash flow a short-term rental property. They crunched the numbers and found that even with maximum occupancy, the 90-day limit and high permit fees made the venture unprofitable. They advised others to look elsewhere for Airbnb opportunities.

In contrast, Bigger Pockets member HuntingtonHomeowner shared their positive experience going through the permit process. They said while it was time-consuming and costly, they were ultimately able to get approved and now legally rent their home for up to 90 days per year. They appreciated the town's thorough vetting and felt it weeded out less responsible operators.

Other Bigger Pockets users lamented the loss of income potential due to the regulations. User LIRealEstateGuy said they had to sell their Huntington rental property because the numbers no longer worked under the new rules. They wished the town offered a path for full-time Airbnb investing, rather than limiting it to owner-occupants.

Overall, the online discussions paint a picture of a host community grappling with stringent regulations. While some appreciate the town's efforts to protect neighborhoods, others feel the rules are too restrictive and make Airbnb hosting unviable. The 90-day limit and owner-occupancy requirement are particularly controversial, with many arguing they preclude meaningful rental income.

As the short-term rental market continues to evolve, whether Huntington will adjust its policies to address hosts' concerns remains to be seen. For now, the town seems committed to prioritizing neighborhood preservation over Airbnb activity, much to the frustration of many aspiring hosts.

Disclaimer: While we here at BNBCalc strive to keep all of our city regulation guides updated and accurate with all the latest local laws, we still do not suggest using them as your sole or primary source for local regulations. We also do not recommend you rely on the third-party sources we link to or reference, and we are not responsible for any of the information on these third-party sites. These guides are for entertainment purposes only and only provide basic information and should not be considered as legal advice.

We highly recommend directly contacting the responsible parties for each city and hearing what their officials have to say. Ultimately, it's your responsibility as an investor to ensure you fully comply with the local laws, and it's best to speak with professionals before making an investment decision.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.