A segment that aired last night on ABC’s World News looked at a Montclair family’s efforts to rent out a room in their lovely Victorian home to help pay their mortgage. “We’re really underwater, and may have to do a short sell,” says Mia Riker-Norrie, a voice teacher and the general director of the new Opera Theatre of Montclair. “I’m hoping we can get some renters in here to save it.”
Riker-Norrie was disappointed with the television segment. “I agreed to the shoot because they promised to fix up the room nicely. I got really excited,” she says. “But then they just slapped an ugly, ill-fitting comforter on our day bed, partially painted the room, and threw a bowl of fruit on the table.” She says once the crew entered her home, the focus seemed to shift from the rise of airbnb and the trend of renting out a room, to the interior designer. “It was a weird experience,” says Riker-Norrie.
Like the Norrie’s, several Montclair homeowners are picking up extra cash by renting out space in their homes. From a simple room for $80, to a lovely one-bedroom apartment for $100 a night, see what’s currently available in Montclair on airbnb.com.
It had us wondering — Is all this legal?
“It’s an interesting, challenging topic. Without knowing more about a particular situation, I couldn’t say whether it’s allowed or not,” says Rich Charreun, zoning technician for the Montclair Township. “It’s a judgment call. Nothing in the zoning ordinance addresses whether it includes transient or long-term boarders. It would require a legal interpretation from the township attorney.”
Here’s the section of the ordinance Charreun refers to:
One or more persons living together as a single, nonprofit housekeeping unit whose relationship is of a permanent and domestic character, together with no more than two boarders or roomers who are tenants of the family occupant and whose rent shall be paid to the family occupant. Accommodations for boarders or roomers shall not include cooking or kitchen facilities.
It’s easy to see why there’s demand for these informal rental arrangements. Charreun says no one has proposed opening a local hotel or official B&B in Montclair for more than a dozen years.
Would you consider renting out a room in your home?