RI’s Short Term Rental Registry goes live – you can search your neighborhood

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island’s new short-term rental registry is live, and you can now search for listings on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo in your neighborhood.

Jennifer McGee, spokeswoman for the Department of Business Regulation, said the register went live on Monday.

Although short term rentals have until January 1st at Register, owners can start registering now. Some already do. The database is available onlinewith inscriptions spreading throughout the state.

The register is the result of a law adopted by the General Assembly. Governor Dan McKee vetoed it, but the General Assembly overruled his veto in January 2022. Towns around Rhode Island, sometimes but not always in vacation hotspots, have grappled with the effect that short-term rentals have had on neighborhood character, nuisance issues, and housing prices.

By law, properties listed on third-party accommodation platforms like Airbnb and VRBO for less than 30 days at a time for tourist or transient use must be registered with the state. The registration cost is $50 per property. Penalties for non-compliance range from $250 for the first 30 days of non-compliance to $1,000 for more than 60 days. Persons offering short-term rentals must submit to the state the owner’s name and address, phone number and email address of the owner or property manager, number of bedrooms, and intended use of the property. ownership, among other information.

The public database only has the address and registration status.

Some cities also require short-term rentals to register locally.

Rhode Island Hospitality Association lobbyist Sarah Bratko said the registry is an “important first step” in regulating short-term rentals. But it shouldn’t stop there, said Bratko, whose organization represents restaurants and hotels. Hotel guests pay 13% to stay in a hotel, between 7% sales tax, 5% state hotel tax, and 1% local hotel tax. But guests in most short-term rentals only pay 7% sales tax and 1% local hotel tax, Bratko said.

“Our general view is that these are commercial enterprises that operate like hotels, without any of the laws or regulations that actually govern hotels,” Bratko said. “We think that at a minimum, because they operate like hotels, they should be taxed the same as hotels are taxed.

Brian Amaral can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.

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