CAPE ELIZABETH — Does a homeowner’s right to rent his house at will outweigh a neighbor’s right to have peace and quiet?

That’s what town officials will have to consider before deciding whether to impose regulations on rental homes in residential areas. The Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to have its Ordinance Committee look into the matter.

Town Manager Mike McGovern said there’s a growing trend in Cape Elizabeth toward renting out homes on a weekly basis during the summer, sometimes for weddings. He said officials could consider requiring annual inspections, sprinkler systems and smoke detectors in some of those homes.

David Volin of Lawson Road told councilors on Monday that short-term renters in his neighborhood have had 20 to 30 cars parked on the narrow streets near his house. He said emergency vehicles would have had a hard time getting through on the crowded roads.

Loud, rowdy parties have also been an issue at the homes that are rented frequently, Volin said, urging the council to impose regulations.

David Ginn, who rents out a home he owns in Volin’s neighborhood, told the council that his renters aren’t allowed to have more than four cars parked at the house, which is on Sea Barn Road.

He said he needs to rent the house to pay his taxes.

“It’s an emotional thing for me,” he said.

Answering questions from councilors, McGovern said the town gets a dozen complaints per year about rental homes. They’re usually lodged through the code enforcement officer, who doesn’t feel the town has a rule that would allow him to address the complaints, McGovern said.

Councilor Jessica Sullivan said she’s concerned about limiting the property rights of someone who wants to rent, but believes “such use should not prohibit someone else from enjoying their own property, as well.”

McGovern said the Ordinance Committee could seek guidance from Saco, Old Orchard Beach and the state of Florida, all of which regulate short-term rentals. He didn’t know when the committee would meet on the matter.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: [email protected]