A Jersey Shore community that's striving to improve its image is renewing its crackdown on unruly renters.
Seaside Heights is addressing a slew of complaints by enforcing rules that hold renters more accountable, possibly leading some to have their mercantile licenses suspended. It's all part of an ongoing push to improve the borough's image as a more family-oriented destination.
"We want a community, both for the summer and for the year-round person, to have quality of life for themselves and their neighbors," Mayor Tony Vaz said.
Last fall, Seaside Heights updated its so-called animal house law by requiring someone 18 or older to occupy rental units or motel rooms and be responsible for those under 18. The community is also stepping up enforcement of a three strikes system for persistent issues at rental properties. Under the system, landlords can have their mercantile licenses suspended for up to six months.
So far, four units at two separate properties can't be rented out or soon won't be available, officials said. Several others have gotten strike letters of varying degrees.
Seaside Heights resident Jeffrey Klein sees the crackdown as a positive for the welfare of his family.
"We would wake up, three in the morning, people yelling, screaming, fighting," he said. "Now we have landlords that are really going to think twice before they rent the apartments to people."
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Local leaders plan to add more teeth to the law early next year by making the three strikes rule apply not just to individual rental units but to entire buildings.