The explosion of the short-term rental industry in Rhode Island has resulted in many advantages and disadvantages for Rhode Island residents and property owners. The popularity of short-term vacation rental websites and apps, such as Airbnb, have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in earnings for property owners in Rhode Island. The influx of tourist traffic from the short-term rental industry may also have adverse effects on communities, such as parking, traffic and other nuisance issues that come along with short-term vacationers.
In an effort to regulate this quickly developing industry, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a bill last year that would require the owners of short-term rentals (defined as rentals for a term of fewer than 30 days) to register with the state. Shortly after the bill was passed, Governor Dan McKee vetoed it, stating that it was an unnecessary regulation on Rhode Island small business owners. According to a recently published local news report, the General Assembly recently overrode the governor’s veto, and the legislation has now become law.
As a result of the legislature’s override of the veto, Rhode Island property owners who choose to rent out their properties using Airbnb or a similar service will be required to apply for a license for the property. Applications will be required to have the following information: the principal place of business of the owner, or if outside the state, the agent for service of process or property manager for the owner; the phone number of the property owner and/or property manager; an email address of the property owner and/or property manager; the rental property address; the number of rooms for rent at the property; the intended use of the property (whether rented as a whole home, private room, or a shared space.
With the passage of the new law, homeowners who use short-term rental services will be required to submit applications with all the required information (as well as a yet-to-be-determined registration fee) before June 1st, 2022. Owners who fail to comply with the registration requirements will have their properties removed from the short-term rental service websites. Failure to comply with the requirements over a longer-term will result in financial penalties for the property owners of up to $1000 per offense.
How to Ensure Compliance with Short-Term Rental Requirements
Rhode Island property owners who currently rent their properties using Airbnb or a similar service should respond to this new law quickly to ensure compliance. In addition to this state law, there are several municipalities in the state that require owners to register short-term vacation rentals as well. Owners should also consult with professionals to discuss what possible insurance and tax implications there may be to managing a property as a short-term vacation rental. The experienced Rhode Island real estate lawyers at Bilodeau Capalbo understand the issues faced by Rhode Island property owners and landlords. We keep up with the ever-changing landscape of laws and regulations that apply to Rhode Island property owners, and we can assist you in keeping in compliance with any new laws or regulations that are passed. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with a qualified Rhode Island real estate attorney by calling 401-300-4055 today.