N.J. Governor signs legislation, giving tax breaks to independent summer renters

Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation Friday, amending an existing law and providing tax relief for independent renters.

Billy Locher of West Chester, New York always vacations in Ship Bottom, New Jersey.

But this year their search for a rental was a little different.

"This year when we were looking to book with the whole tax, a couple of hundred dollars makes a big difference for us," said Locher.

They didn't rent their normal place because they say they would've been hit with an 11% rental tax.

Homeowners including Duane Watlington banded together to fight the law that hurt their ability to rent out their shore homes.

They formed the New Jersey Shore Rentals Coalition.

"It was a grassroots effort for us to tackle this legislatively to get this law corrected. Because it was never intended to tax the private, direct homeowner rentals," said Watlington.

The new legislation amends the law that passed last year, which was meant to tax folks who booked short term rentals through websites like Airbnb and VRBO.

But it also taxed those who booked rentals directly from the property owners - people like Maryanne Sweeney-Renshaw, who lives in Cape Coral, Florida but has a home in Ship Bottom. "It gets hairy after a while," she said. "Am I going to fill those slots or aren't you? And should I buy that new picnic set for the backyard?"

Now rentals that go through the homeowner directly will not be subject to the tax.

"I think it's a blessing and finally hearing something good where a politician does care and listen to the citizens," said Sweeney-Renshaw.
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