Local authorities want short-term rentals to be regulated locally | News

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

Local city officials expressed skepticism about whether a registry would actually be functional or simply become another source of revenue for the state by collecting registration fees. The State admits that it lacks personnel to carry out compliance checks.

“I think it’s good that they leave it up to the community,” said Jamie Gorman, building manager and zoning enforcement officer for the City of South Kingstown.

His colleague from Narragansett, Wayne Pimental, a building manager who, like Gorman, monitors 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 type of law would do is require a collection of fees,” he said.

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

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

In recent years, the South County area in particular has seen a dramatic increase in home sharing and the online services that real estate agents and private landlords use to promote them. These often cheaper accommodations compete with hotels for tourist or traveler money.

Income opportunities

For individual homeowners, offering a room – or even a house – for selected days or weeks, whether seasonally or monthly, short-term rentals in private homes can provide a healthy second income, especially more than travel increases with the lifting of pandemic restrictions.

The summer season especially attracts people to these accommodations, 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, owners of short-term rentals are already required to register with the Tax Division. The Department of State Business Regulation also opposed the legislation due to a lack of personnel to enforce it.

In Narragansett, Pimental explained, people engaged in home sharing – as well as other forms of rented accommodation – are required to register with the city for security reasons and the city collects a fee. .

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

South Kingstown and North Kingstown, on the other hand, do not have a registration system.

South Kingstown, however, has bylaws that prohibit rooming rentals and the creation of rooming houses, but will allow full house rentals, Gorman said. He added that special use permits are required for bed and breakfasts.

If properties suddenly become hotspots for complaints or have rentals that the city doesn’t allow, law enforcement officials will investigate the complaints, Gorman added.

North Kingstown City Council President Greg Mancini would like the government to track what landlords do with their property because “these are businesses. I think there needs to be some kind 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 because up-to-date information would help address complaints.

Newport wrote short-term rental rules in its ordinances and hired a dedicated short-term rental compliance officer to enforce them.

The concern of lawmakers, however, to cater to this in-demand market has roots in numbers showing a continued growth trend.

Douglas Quinby, senior industry analyst at Phocuswright, told Travel Weekly two years ago that “…virtually anyone, anywhere, with a home or rental space in their home could to rent”.

He added, “It turned out to be something that went deep into the mainstream. We’ve been saying for years that the phrase “alternative hosting” is outdated, because it’s not “alternative” anymore.

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 is exceeding all expectations in 2021, as demand increases in smaller cities and destination markets across the states. -United.

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

“This milestone marked the end of the recovery and the beginning of the next phase of expansion for the U.S. short-term rental industry,” he said.

So far, new supply has struggled to keep pace with growing demand. “New campaigns from Airbnb and Vrbo should help, but won’t be enough to meet this summer’s record demand,” he said.

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

  • 67% more listing nights sold in 2021 than 2019 in small town/rural markets
  • 25% more demand in both destinations/resorts (mountain/lake and coastline)
  • 8% demand growth in mid-sized cities
  • 13% decrease 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 numbers match his experiences watching jumps in local home sharing.

She said she had increased the number of her Vrbo properties listed by a third and also told around 75% of callers looking for summer holiday accommodation that she had no no property available for rental.

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

“Use the money (from registration fees) to help with things like policing when we need them at properties when people are misbehaving,” she said.

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