To the Editor: Neighbor stars 

To the Editor: 

It would be useful to have a way for neighbors to rate vacation rentals. In rental platforms such as VRBO and Airbnb, renters and owners are usually kind to each other, but there is no place to reflect the experience of neighbors. 

As Maine towns are now able to regulate transient vacation rentals, even towns without vacation rental programs can at least protect neighborhood quality of life by defining the behavioral expectations of short-term vacation renters.  

A vacation rental ordinance could include standards for renters, including trespassing, dogs, noise, parties and fires. These concerns are usually already covered in local law but may not be spelled out by owners in their rental contract. This leaves renters with their own expectations, which may not be a fit for the neighborhood.   

In a quiet, wooded neighborhood, it should be possible to avoid these situations: renters roaming neighbor’s woods for firewood, dangerous outdoor fires on windy nights, loose dogs trespassing, blaring music, loud outdoor parties into the night. 

There may be neighborhoods where things work differently, and that’s OK, but spelling it out for quiet neighborhoods will keep the peace. 

Owners accept payment and must also accept responsibility for educating their renters. Rental platforms have a place for owners to list house rules, and there they can refer to a town ordinance. 

Ken Rozsahegyi 

Southwest Harbor 


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