The Town of Westport adopted revisions to its short-term-rental code this week. Among the changes was an increased penalty for those who violate the ordinance.
Town Administrator Tom Wilson said the fine was simply too low.
“I got a call from the (owner of a short-term rental we shut down),” Wilson said. “They had one more weekend that people were going to stay beyond what they said they would have. They said, ‘The fine you told us was $500. We’re going to ask the renters if they will pay it to stay here.’”
Town Board Chair Dean Grosskopf said allowing the owners of the property to continue renting their house would be unacceptable, seeing that they had agreed to shut down their operation.
“We’ve got to come down like a ton of bricks on them,” Grosskopf said.
The board revised the ordinance to include a penalty of $1,000 each day an owner is in violation. For rents greater than $667, the penalty would be 150 percent of their daily rental amount.
“It’s a ton and a half,” Wilson said, “a hundred and fifty percent.”
Wilson said the revisions will go into effect after official publication, which should occur next week.