Collingswood, N.J. cracks down on Airbnb businesses

- More and more homeowners are turning their places into hotels. It’s cheaper for guests and means extra cash for the homeowners.

But, one Camden County community is cracking down on the practice.

Even with help from her grandson Vince, Suzanne Cloud says her 95-yer-old home on Haddon Avenue is a handful.

Larger than the widow needs and more expensive than she can afford, Suzanne is now angry with the borough of Collingswood, who have put the kibosh on her Airbnb business.

“I can’t afford my house without doing this, but they just say ‘No, we don’t understand Airbnbs. We don’t understand Airbnbs. You just can’t do it because we said no,’” Suzanne Cloud explained to FOX 29’s Bruce Gordon.

For four and a half years, Cloud rented out rooms here to out-of-town visitors in for a long weekend with family or friends, but mostly to medical students at nearby Cooper University Hospital, in for rotations at $400-$600 a month. She says it’s hardly spring break in Wildwood.

“These are quiet, professional people who want to be a doctor,” Cloud stated.

In fact, Cloud reached the status of “Super Host” based on reviews from guests. Those ratings go both ways.

“I have to accept them,” Cloud said.
“There’s more vetting then simply saying ‘You’ve got the money, here’s the room,” Bruce Gordon asked.
“Exactly,” said Cloud.

But, a complaint from a neighbor Cloud said he hadn’t even realized she was renting rooms till she told him brought the matter to the attention of Collingswood Township officials who reportedly, fearing damage to property values, ordered Cloud and other Airbnb hosts to cease and desist last winter.

“They just have a certain image in their mind of boarding houses equal flophouses equal opium dens. It’s all pejorative,” Cloud explained.

The zoning variances needed to run Airbnb is still in dispute. But, for now at least, Cloud said she is out of business and other hosts are underground.

Bruce Gordon asked, “Do you think people are still renting out rooms in Collingswood?”
“I do,” said Cloud.
“Just below the radar,” asked Gordon.
“Right,” said Cloud.
 

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