Local authorities want short-term rentals regulated locally | New

The state will not impose registration requirements on residents who engage in colocation and other short-term property rentals, following Governor Dan McKee’s recent rejection of proposed legislation to this effect.

Local city officials have expressed skepticism about whether a registry would actually work or simply become another revenue generator for the state by extracting registration fees. The state admits that there is a lack of personnel to carry out compliance checks.

“I think it’s good that they are leaving it to the community,” said Jamie Gorman, building manager and zoning enforcer for the City of South Kingstown.

His colleague in Narragansett, Wayne Pimental, a building manager who, like Gorman, oversees compliance with various municipal housing regulations, agreed.

“I don’t know what service would come from the state. It seems that right now all this kind of law would do is require a fee collection, ”he said.

McKee last week vetoed a bill to require landlords to register with the state before listing short-term rentals on online hosting websites such as Airbnb and VRBO.

“I cannot support this bill because it will create an additional burden on landowners,” McKee wrote in a veto message. “Short-term rental issues, like other land use and small business issues, are dealt with most effectively at the municipal level,” he said.

In recent years, the South County region in particular has seen a dramatic increase in home sharing and the online services used by real estate agents and private landlords to promote them. These often cheaper accommodations rival hotels for tourists ‘or travelers’ money.

Income opportunities

For individual owners offering a room – or even a house – for selected days or weeks, whether by season or by month, short-term rentals in private homes can provide a healthy second income, so much so. more than travel increases with the lifting of pandemic restrictions.

The summer season particularly attracts people to these dwellings and the owners compensate for other financial losses.

The idea for the state registry came after a University of Rhode Island student was killed following an altercation at an Airbnb property in Newport over Memorial Day weekend.

However, short-term rental owners are already required to register with the Taxation Division. The Department of State Affairs Regulation also opposed the legislation due to a lack of staff to enforce it.

In Narragansett, Pimental explained, people who share their home – as well as other forms of rental accommodation – are required to register with the city for security reasons and the city collects a fee.

Those who do not risk a fine of $ 300, he said. Although the city does not visit properties to perform inspections, warning letters and an official visit could arrive if the city receives complaints about the conduct of tenants or their guests, he said.

In contrast, South Kingstown and North Kingstown do not have a registration system.

South Kingstown, however, has regulations that prohibit renting rooms and creating rooming houses, but will allow the rental of an entire house, Gorman said. He added that special use permits are needed for guesthouses.

If properties suddenly become hot spots for complaints or have rentals that the city does not allow, enforcement officials will investigate the complaints, Gorman added.

Greg Mancini, chairman of North Kingstown City Council, would like the government to follow what homeowners do with their property because “these are businesses. I think there needs to be some sort of oversight and it should come from the state. “

If the state ever created such a database, these officials said their cities would tap into it, as up-to-date information would help deal with complaints.

Newport put the short-term rental rules into its ordinances and hired a dedicated short-term rental compliance officer to enforce them.

The concern of lawmakers, however, to tackle this in-demand market has some roots in the numbers showing an ever-increasing trend.

Douglas Quinby, a senior industry analyst at Phocuswright, told Travel Weekly two years ago that “… basically anyone, anywhere with a house or space to rent in his house could rent him “.

He added: “It turned out to be something that has deeply penetrated the mainstream. We have been saying for years that the term “alternative accommodation” is obsolete, because it is no longer “alternative”.

His observation turned out to be correct.

AirDNA, a company that analyzes people’s travel habits, said this year that demand for short-term rentals exceeds all expectations in 2021 as demand increases in small town and destination markets across the United States. United.

He said that in the first three months of 2021, the United States hit a record new bookings every month until April 2021, when demand (nights) exceeded 2019 levels for the first time since. February 2020.

“This step marked the end of the recovery and the start of the next phase of expansion for the US short-term rental industry,” he said.

So far, the new supply has struggled to keep pace with growing demand. “The new Airbnb and Vrbo campaigns should help, but will not be enough to meet the record demand for this summer,” he said.

AirDNA reported that when it compared pre- and post-pandemic data (April 2019 to April 2021), the numbers show:

  • 67% more registration nights sold in 2021 compared to 2019 in small towns / rural markets
  • 25% more demand in the two destinations / resort (mountain / lake and coast)
  • Eight percent growth in demand in mid-sized cities
  • 13% drop in demand in suburban areas
  • 41% drop in demand for urban properties.

Statistics were not immediately available for the South County market.

Locally, Robin Leclerc, real estate agent at Residential Properties Ltd. in Narragansett, said those kinds of numbers correspond to his experiences observing the jumps in the local house share.

She said she increased the number of her listed Vrbo properties by a third and also told about 75% of callers looking for summer vacation accommodation that she did not. no property for rent.

Leclerc said she had mixed feelings about compiling a database, like Narragansett’s, but the state should leave the project to municipalities.

“Use the money (from the listing fee) to help with things like policing when we need it in properties when people are not behaving well,” she said.

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