The total number of travelers making their way to the Garden State is on the rise. New Jersey hosted more than 96 million visitors in 2021 alone and hotels were reportedly at almost 100% occupancy during the 2022 summer season. Last year, visitor spending was projected to be $44 billion.
When it comes to lodging in New Jersey, hotels and other transient accommodations, like short-term rentals (STRs), are required to collect the 6.625% state sales tax and 5% state occupancy fee. Most communities can also collect municipal occupancy taxes of up to 3%. Some New Jersey destinations have other fees that apply, such as Atlantic City’s 9% luxury tax and $1 a day promotion fee.
With tourism in the state projected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, here’s a look at how some New Jersey communities are managing STRs.
A historic coastal community known for its music scene, Asbury Park experienced a rise in popularity over the years. The city adopted an ordinance in 2017 that requires all STR operators to apply for a permit, valid for one year from the date of issuance. A fee of $500 for the first year and $100 annually thereafter includes the cost of an annual inspection. Operating without a permit may result in fines.
The county seat of Union County draws visitors year-round with historic sites and seasonal attractions like the cherry blossoms of Warinanco Park. STRs in Elizabeth are subject to a 6% hotel use and occupancy tax. Like Asbury Park, the city requires STR operators to apply for a license and pay an annual registration fee before opening doors to guests. The $200 fee includes the cost of carbon monoxide and zoning inspections, which are both required to receive a rental certificate of occupancy. Licenses automatically expire when a property changes ownership.
New Jersey’s capital city, Trenton, is located in Mercer County. The city collects a 1% municipal occupancy tax from STRs and charges operators a first-year registration fee of $300 and an annual renewal fee of $150. Trenton requires inspections every five years for non-occupant-owned STRs. There is a $100 per day penalty fee for unregistered STRs.
On par with other municipalities in the state, Hopatcong in Sussex County has a $300 initial application fee and a $150 annual renewal fee. As part of the borough’s permit application process, operators must submit supplemental paperwork such as proof of residency, a zoning permit compliance certificate, and a plan detailing the total number and location of parking spaces.
Home to one of the busiest airports in the country, New Jersey’s most populous city, Newark, is about 10 miles west of New York City. The city’s $250 annual STR permitting fee includes the cost of an inspection. Per city requirements, the owner or manager of the STR must be available 24/7 and prepared to respond to complaints within two hours.
The Borough of Collingswood in Camden County is less than 10 miles east of Philadelphia. The borough’s STR requirements include health and safety practices, such as having the correct number of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed. Operators need to register annually to remain in compliance. Inspection fees vary depending on the number of STRs, but for those with fewer than eight non-owner-occupied units, the cost is $65 per unit.
Cape May County
An abundance of beautiful beaches and bustling boardwalks are among the many draws for Cape May County’s new and returning visitors. The county’s 2% tourism tax and 1.85% tourism assessment apply to transient accommodations in Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and North Wildwood.
We will take a closer look at destinations in the Cape May County area in the second part of our New Jersey STR Report, available here.
For more information about GovOS STR, visit govos.com/products/short-term-rental/