We live next door to a “short term rental house.” A lovely family bought it years ago. They spent weekends there with their children. Occasionally we heard squeals from the kids having fun at the pool and we enjoyed having them as neighbors.

The kids grew up, the marriage ended, and the house sat vacant for a summer or two. Then it became a rental (party) house with an endless array of noisy, party people.

We had a pandemic with no vaccine in sight along with loud, vulgar, groups of people who trespassed onto our property, did not wear masks, drove multiple cars, and produced excessive amounts of trash. We placed frequent calls, emails, and texts to the owners, the rental agent, and finally, the police.

This past summer has been better. A new rental agent; smaller groups of renters; less loud parties, but it is not the same as having a lovely family next door.

These properties are zoned for single-family homes; not hotels; not multi-family residences – and that is what the house next door has become.

This is our experience with one house but we know there are so many other houses like this.

Real estate agents advertise properties with “great rental history” and rental agents promote rentals for the maximum amount of occupancy: “sleeps 12” translates to a small house with sleeper sofas.

It would be a shame to turn “harbor country” into “rental house heaven” with no permanent residents and no sense of community.

Susan Stevens


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