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Renting out your property? New regs for RI short-term rental season – PLDO Law

RHODE ISLAND ENACTS NEW LEGISLATION TO REGULATE SHORT-TERM RENTAL INDUSTRY

The short-term rental industry is a booming industry in Rhode Island, particularly in coastal cities such as Newport and Narragansett. In fact, Airbnb announced in December of 2021 that their hosts in Rhode Island have earned $210 million since 2010. However, with the industry’s growth, it was inevitable that the short-term rental market will become more regulated. 

On January 4, 2022, a new law was enacted in Rhode Island creating a mandatory registration program for short term rentals that are listed for rent through housing platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO. This law was initially passed by the General Assembly on July 1, 2021, but Governor Dan McKee vetoed the legislation. The General Assembly then overrode the veto, enacting the law by codifying amendments to Rhode Island General Laws §42-63.1-14. Under this new legislation, “[a]ny short-term rental property listed for rent on the website of any third-party hosting platform that conducts business in Rhode Island” is now required to be registered with the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation (“DBR”). When registering the short-term rental owner is required to provide: 

  1. 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;
  2. The phone number of the owner of the property and/or property manager;
  3. The email address of the property owner and/or property manager;
  4. The address of the rental property;
  5. The number of rooms for rent at the property;
  6. Whether the registrant rents or owns; and,
  7. Intended use (entire space, private room or shared space).

This information will be stored in an online database created by DBR. Any short-term rental property that fails to register will be fined $250 for the first 30 days of noncompliance, $500 for 60 days of noncompliance, and $1,000 for more than 60 days of noncompliance. 

It appears that the reasoning behind this legislation is to ensure short-term rental owners are complying with tax and safety regulations and that the owner’s contact information will be accessible for emergencies. This is not a new concept, as many towns and cities, including Newport, Narragansett, and Portsmouth, have already required short-term rental owners to register on the municipal level.

For assistance in navigating this new regulation in the short-term rental market, please contact Attorney Katherine B. Dunn at 401-824-5100 or kdunn@pldolaw.com

RINewsToday
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