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Homeowners must be allowed to rent to college students

A New Jersey town might have been upset about rowdy college students in rental properties near the school, but it didn’t have a right to deal with the problem by passing new zoning rules that limited rentals, says a New Jersey appeals court.

The town of Ewing, N.J. had tried to limit “Animal House”-type rentals by adopting rules for rental properties that required a minimum amount of space per renter and that required one parking space for each renter who was a licensed driver. The idea was to limit the number of people who could rent a given house, thus discouraging “party houses.”

A judge had earlier struck down the rules as excessive, saying that if the town were upset about the students’ behavior, it could deal with the problem by enforcing existing laws against underage drinking, excessive noise, trash problems and public nuisances.

There was no need to change the zoning laws for the whole town just to deal with “classic college youth bent on partying, drinking, tomfoolery and general testosterone-infused excess,” the judge wrote.

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