Mequon — Those interested in renting out their home in Mequon have new regulations to follow.
An ordinance regulating short-term home rentals in the city passed 5-2 at the Jan. 10 common council meeting.
The ordinance conditions include a minimum two-night rental, the number of people in a home not to exceed the number of occupants allowed by city ordinances, and the completion of an application, which includes a fee.
Not everyone felt the ordinance was needed. Alderman Robert Strzelczyk and Pamela Adams were opposed. Alderman Mark Gierl, who ended up voting in favor, initially said there was no issue and the regulations weren’t needed. He said only a handful of residents rent their homes with no police complaints.
“We’re not a tourist destination,” he said.
Gierl said the council should vote on restrictions for future renters and grandfather those who are already doing it. Mequon city attorney Brian Sajdak said that could be difficult to enforce.
The grandfathering amendment failed 4-3.
A public hearing was held on the matter with Mequon resident and Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol speaking against the regulation, saying it was taking property rights from residents.
Gerol said Mequon is not attempting to regulate the use of a property but rather who can occupy a property. He said whether it’s the owner or the renter, it’s still people using a home and the nature of the property isn’t changing.
“Is this necessary that the mighty arm of government step in and regulate?” Gerol asked. “I think this is overkill.”
Resident Alice Matthews also spoke during the public comment period and agreed with Gerol, saying the city was trying to take her property rights. She spoke to a Cedarburg case which she said supports how she uses her home.
“The city of Mequon is attempting to play God and ignore case law,” she said.
Strzelczyk said he believed the use was different if it was a family using their home or a renter.
Another version of the ordinance recommended by the plan commission included more restrictions such as no more than six annual rentals, no more than 29 days per year, and no more than six guests per rental.