City Council Tweaks New Rental Sticker Law

OCEAN CITY – A request to waive the rental license door sticker requirement this week led to other changes made to the recently approved law aimed at regulating certain aspects of the local rental industry.

In February, the Mayor and City Council approved the Noise Board’s request to implement a sticker system based on the Property Control Number, which each property in Ocean City is assigned.

A database has been created providing a police officer the ability to search by the control number to obtain a contact number to notify the emergency/local contact person listed for the property.

The stickers come out of an issue that has occurred with the timeliness of property owners receiving notifications of their tenants being in violation of the Noise Code, which is submitted through certified mail.

The system will also help Ocean City in collecting unpaid rental license fees from property owners who are renting without a license and have a noise complaint, as well as allow emergency responders to make immediate contact if there is an incident at the property.

The sticker system was used in the past but in 2009 the decision was made to eliminate it because towards the end of 2008 License Inspector Rich Mason informed the city that by eliminating the stickers it would save money on rental license forms at that time. Mason furthered that the stickers were not used for its intended purpose.

This week Tony Deluca, treasurer of the Gateway Grand, made a request to waive the stickers from being placed on the doors of rental units but instead place them in a book at the front desk listing the rental units and owners.

Councilman Lloyd Martin pointed out that Capt. Kirstein of the Ocean City Police Department found no problem with the request as well as the town’s License Inspector, and the council voted 6-1 to approve the request. Councilman Joe Hall opposed.

“I just didn’t support the sticker in the first place,” Joe Hall said. “I thought that the fixed addresses on each unit, and the numbers in the data base could be just as effective as putting additional stickers on the door … I just think the stickers aren’t effective.”

City Solicitor Guy Ayres pointed out that the ordinance does not have a provision for waivers and would have to be amended to do so.

Also, Councilman Doug Cymek, who serves on the Noise Board, said the board recently approved requests made to place rental stickers on windows in close proximity to the rental unit doors, which would also require an amendment to the ordinance.

Martin made a motion to draft an amendment to the ordinance to be inclusive of waivers made by request, as well as allowing requests to place stickers in close proximity to doors and the council approved in a 6-1 vote, Joe Hall opposed.

“Here we are, we had the stickers before then we went and did away with the stickers because there was inconsistency and inefficiency and now they are going to be on the doors, on the windows, and in books at the front desk,” Joe Hall said. “What is consistent and precise to me is every unit has to be numbered and every unit has an address, and I can’t fathom with the technology we have, the police that are responding to the call by address how that can’t be incorporated into the data base and the necessity for stickers just not be there.”

Council President Jim Hall responded that the stickers are not just to be used by police for noise complaints or emergencies but to also be used in identifying unregistered rental units.

“This is also for the license inspector and for the income of Ocean City … for the people that do not send in their rental tax or collect their rental tax or report to us that it is a rental unit” he said.