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VRBO is one of the sites offering vacation rentals on the North Fork. But there are regulations property owners need to be aware of.

With kids back in school and many parents returning to their offices, some North Fork homeowners may be considering renting their properties while they are not using them.

“Offseason rentals are a terrific value since prices are lower than summer,” said Marianne Collins, licensed real estate salesperson, Brown Harris Stevens.  “They have become even more sought-after since the start of the pandemic. People are seeking more space and the serene peaceful atmosphere of the area, and those working from home are now able to take advantage of it in all seasons.  It’s also a great way for buyers to spend more time here and get familiar with the North Fork as they search for the perfect home.”

Whether the goal is to make some extra cash on sporadic visitors or open up a property to long-term renters, there are some restrictions North Fork homeowners need to know about before they put their home up for both short-term and long-term rent.

Both Riverhead and Southold Towns require owners to obtain a rental permit, which is good for two years.

“To obtain a permit you need to fill out an application, have certificates of occupancy, a floor plan with room dimensions, and marked smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that are placed to code along with payment to The Town of Southold in the amount of $200 submitted to the Building Department,” said Janet Markarian, real estate salesperson, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.

“After submission, an inspection of the premises by The Town of Southold Building Inspector should be scheduled.”

There are minimum rental periods that must be adhered to as well. In Riverhead, it is 30 days, and in Southold, it’s two weeks.

To make sure a property is safe for occupancy, homeowners as part of the permit process, must

making sure housing, sanitary, building, electrical and fire codes are met.

It’s a good idea to check with your local hamlet in case there are additional regulations in place.

Then comes listing your property. Some homeowners choose to go it alone and find renters through online housing sites like VRBO, Airbnb or TripAdvisor. Others find value in enlisting the help of a local real estate agent.

“Once a homeowner has their rental permit, it is a good idea to list the property with local a real estate brokerage experienced with seasonal rentals,” said Collins. “Professional photos and a listing on the Multiple Listing Service website and the broker’s website will help get the word out.  Your agent can advise appropriate pricing, which will vary by season and length of rental.”