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Walworth County Continues to Battle Short-term Rentals

Walworth County is continuing to crack down on illegal short-term housing rentals.

Such activity, along with the occasional neighborhood nuisance problems that can result, have only been exacerbated by online hosting sites like Airbnb.

Once again this summer, the county’s Land Use Resource and Management Office will hire a part-time investigator to handle complaints.

The office receives on average over a dozen complaints each weekend. Short-term rentals are only allowed in areas that are zoned for it.

Walworth County Board Chair Nancy Russell says keeping the neighborhood peace isn’t the only reason why the county wants to keep short-term rentals in check. "My personal opinion is that it destroys neighborhoods," Russell said recently. "You reach a point where short-term rentals become more prevalent and the community just breaks apart," said Russell, explaining that permanent residents have a stronger vested interest in their communities and are more apt to volunteer and watch out for each other. 

The county’s crack down on short term rentals is being challenged in court. A lawsuit was filed last year by a dozen residents who say their properties should be governed by a more lenient set of rules that were in place when their housing units were built.