Brigantine Mayor Shares Ugly Truth About Short-Term Rental Chaos

Brigantine Short Term Rental Lawsuits
Buried in Lawsuits?

Listen to discussion of SHORT-TERM RENTAL from OCT 4, 2023 Brigantine City Council Meeting.

City is one step closer to passing a weak, confusing update to it’s virtually non-existent, short term rental (STR) ordinance.

Note: The OCT 4 meeting featured another audio glitch. Luckily, we found this….

Click to listen.

Listen carefully to this 10 minute audio clip. Hard to believe Mayor Vince Sera of Brigantine is actually saying this stuff:

Mayor Vince Sera: And I know at the end of the day, people are still going to sue us. You’re talking about suing us. The short term rental people are talking about suing us. Individual owners are talking about suing us. Everybody wants to sue us.

Brigantine Mayor Preparing for short-term rental lawsuits.

Mayor Sera of Brigantine: There was a property that was sold three houses down from me. I kept praying that a short-term rental owner wouldn’t go in there. But I’ll tell you, even for me, I was scared to death. Councilman Lettieri dealt with the same thing on his street. It took us months to shut that property down.

People are losing their homes over this. I want you to understand, people are coming in and you’re renting these properties. It’s so disruptive that people are being driven out of their homes.

Take me at my word. Because I am a man of honor, I try to put everything out as public as possible. I make sure that everybody knows what’s going on. There are no secrets and I understand if you don’t trust us and I understand if you don’t trust me.

I’m staking my name, my reputation on getting this done. And I don’t lie.

I hear the stories from around the island about how people are being negatively impacted by this.

I know long term for our economy and our tax base, (STR’s) are not the best thing.

I keep hearing more people are at the point where they want to sell their homes. They just want to walk away because they can’t take it anymore.

We have mobilized every city asset that is connected to this for the last few weeks to make sure that we get ourselves in a position to handle this in a legal way. And to have a solid defense when people take us to court because they will, I kid you not.

We’ve had three of our attorneys from Parker McKay working this through. We’ve gone through six different drafts to make sure that we have the legal language in such a way that we have limited the city’s exposure.

I’m just not here to play word games and I know if you’re coming here as an attorney, I understand that. But I think I’m going to direct your questions to our attorney because I understand that your position is that you want to take legal action against the city. So I’m going to direct your questions and any legal questions you have to our attorney.

I also hear everybody saying they can’t continue to live this way.

Brigantine Mayors Guenther Simpson Sera
Bad Influence on Mayor Sera.

Mr’s Phillips, I know you might not trust me, and that’s fine. And I know that you have good reason to not trust the city and how you were treated in the past, I believe was 100% wrong. You were wronged by this city. I am not those people. Mrs. Phillips, how people treated you in the past was wrong. But that is not me.

Imagine trying to raise your family. What if some of bachelor parties take place in the properties around you.

People are really hung up on this idea that if you had a longer night minimum, it would change it.

I think in order to really have an impact, you need to have a 15 (night rental minimum).

SERA: Anywhere between 2 and 7 night rental minimums, don’t make a difference. Whether you do a2, 3, 5 or 7 night minimum. It’s not going to impact the quality of life of people living in those communities.

I know people are focused on length of stay. What the issue is… is the behavior in the property.

There are different groups, organizations and individuals that plan on taking legal action. Our attorneys are making sure that we’re on solid legal ground. Making sure that the city has the legal resources in order to fight these battles.

So we’re clear, this document that you’re looking at, what I put together working with the committee, is just kind of an overall summary. Some people might not have wanted to read the actual ordinance and we wanted people to know the substance of what the ordinance is, but this isn’t the exact legal language. That’s a typo. I’m sorry, Sir.

I have faith in our fire department, our code officials and our city manager (Platt) are going to put every effort into properly addressing these. We have the ability now to stop the group gatherings. You can’t advertise for parties.

You can’t advertise group events. That is now illegal under this ordinance and our police and our code enforcement can take action against it.

Part of the rental license is they have to identify with us. Where they’re advertising and their home ID numbers. We would be able to research that and actually in our ordinance, even to advertise things that are in violation of our law is a violation of the ordinance and we could hold them accountable.

What is the actual definition of resort house? Let’s hear from our city manager, Tiger Platt.

City Manager TIGER PLATT: Mayor, I will agree. The resort house was a little confusing for me as well and I spent a lot of time sitting with our fire official (Jack Murray) asking for clarification. I was a little confused by it as well. The fact is, we don’t technically have any resort houses in Brigantine by the definition of the law. The best example that was given to me was that there’s a house in Ocean City, Spiegel house or something like that. It’s a home. But it advertises like a destination, like a resort to come stay at the Spiegel house. It’s in a commercial area. It’s not a normal single family home. It’s advertised as a resort to come to. Technically, under the code, we don’t have any resort houses in Brigantine. I would agree that some homes do advertise currently as a destination. That is being corrected in this ordinance.

It would fall under false advertisement if they’re advertising for three. But really having more in there. I believe that would fall under the false advertising, so if they’re, if they’re saying they’re telling us we’re only doing a three bedroom.

Brigantine Councilman ‘DJ’ Mike Riordan: When we had a big problem on 13th Street, they just kept paying the fines and paying the fines. He never went to jail.

We need the police to be engaged.

SERA: We should have our code officials and some of our employees who deal with this working on the weekends addressing these issues when they’re happening.

One of the things we had an issue with is that we couldn’t prove there was an exchange of money. It’s not a criminal case. We can’t go in and subpoena things. We can’t get the documentation we needed.

If they’re advertising it. It is now a violation. There’s the only proof we need is the advertisement.

So when you talk about substantiated, there’s the difference between somebody who just files a complaint and when the city writes a summons or tickets and takes action because there could be a property where maybe people just don’t like the property and they complain about it.

But if it’s unfounded, if the officers go out there or code enforcement goes out there and they find no issue, then that would not count against them.

  • Who is hiding behind LLC’s?
  • IRS views short-term rentals as a HOSPITALITY BUSINESS
  • Conflict of interest. Council and Planning Board?
  • Disclosure. Real Estate agents disclosing STR info to potential buyers?
  • Unrestricted 1 & 2 bedroom properties are just as likely to have loud, disruptive parties.
  • Fire Official Jack Murray is in charge of monitoring rentals. Why does he not attend meetings?

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2 thoughts on “Brigantine Mayor Shares Ugly Truth About Short-Term Rental Chaos”

  1. I am still mystified as to why a 7 day minimum in summer months can’t be considered. Maybe it was explained but not on the video.

    I understand what the council and mayor mean about problems being a conduct issue. What I think is not being taken into account from that thought process is that it is probably more unlikely for a group (family probably) renting for 7 days to exhibit less than favorable conduct than a group renting for two nights.

    I also don’t get what the harm would be to impose 7 night minimum “in the summer months”.

    There was no explanation unless the larger home STR owners provided some kind of data that wasn’t made public, such data showing some kind of significant income loss if 7 days imposed; or did it have to do with commitments made for 2024? Leaves one bewildered.

    Having said that I truly hope the new regulations along with the significantly enhanced enforcement “promised” work. That would be an amazing result!

    Appreciate BrigantineNow keeping us current.

    Thank you.

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