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Laconia City Council Narrowly Passes Ordinance Banning Short-Term Rentals

Sara Willa Ernst/NHPR

Monday night, the Laconia City Council passed an ordinance that effectively bans short-term rentals, like AirBnB, from operating within the city's residential neighborhoods.

The city council was split on the vote, with three councilors in favor and three against. Mayor Edward Engler broke the tie, passing the ordinance 4-3.

Under the new law, short-term rental properties are prohibited in residential neighborhoods except when the property is owner-occupied. This stipulation will allow private citizens to continue renting out spare rooms within their own homes, but will prevent out-of-state investors from buying up the city's already limited housing stock for the purpose of short-term renting. 

The ordinance also contains an exemption for short-term rentals in Laconia's commercial and shorefront residential zones, which will allow short-term rentals in popular tourist destinations, like Weirs Beach, to continue operation. 

Proponents of the ordinance say it will help preserve the traditional character of Laconia's neighborhoods, but opponents argue it's too restrictive, and will push short-term rental hosts to operate in secret.

The council agreed to consider further amendments to the ordinance in January.

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