Peering into the Peer Economy: Short-Term Rental Regulation

Zoning Practice — October 2015

By Dwight Merriam, FAICP


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Are short-term rentals good or bad for your community? Like so many things, it depends.

Short-term rentals (STRs) increase the stock of furnished, short-term accommodations. Because many of the rentals involve renting a room in a permanently occupied dwelling, they are often less expensive than commercial lodging. The benefit for home owners or long-term tenants who host STR guests is additional income, which can help offset mortgage or rent payments. However, some contend that STRs may exacerbate the shortage of lower cost rentals because landlords, attracted by the higher revenue stream from STRs, are taking apartments out of long-term rentals.

This issue of Zoning Practice explains the connection of short-term rental regulation to the larger sharing economy and offers key considerations for new approaches to licensing and zoning for home sharing. It highlights the importance of addressing permissible activities, rental management, and limits on use.


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Date Published
Oct. 1, 2015
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Dwight Merriam, FAICP
Dwight Merriam, FAICP, a lawyer and land use planner, is a Fellow in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, a Fellow and Past President and of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Past Chair of the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law, a Counselor of Real Estate, and the Connecticut member of Owners’ Counsel of America. Dwight taught for 40 years as an adjunct professor in several law schools. He has published over 200 articles and 13 books, including co- authoring the casebook, PLANNING AND CONTROL OF LAND DEVELOPMENT, and co-authoring the treatise RATHKOPF’S THE LAW OF ZONING AND PLANNING with Prof. Sara Bronin. He is the author of CONNECTICUT LAND USE LAW and Practice 4th. Dwight served as an active duty and reserve Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy, including three Vietnam deployments, retiring after 31 years as a Captain. UMass BA (cum laude), UNC MRP, and Yale JD.