General Assembly overrides veto on bill to register all short-term rentals offered by third-party accommodation platforms

The General Assembly today voted to override the Governor’s veto of legislation sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) to demand that every short-term rental property listed for rent on any website third-party hosting platform that operates in Rhode Island to register with the Department of Business Regulation.

According to a press release from the Rhode Island General Assembly, the legislation (2021-H 5505A, 2021-S 0501B), originally passed by the General Assembly on July 1, will create a registry of basic information at the statewide on each property to ensure compliance with tax and safety regulations, with owners contact information in case of emergency. The bill now becomes law.

“Short-term rentals have become a booming industry. In places like our neighborhoods in Newport, investors are buying rental housing this way, and the state doesn’t track where these companies operate. It’s impossible to ensure safety or legal compliance when we don’t even know where the rentals are. Rhode Island needs to keep pace with the rental industry and adopt a statewide registry,” Sen. Euer said in a statement.

Airbnb announced in December that its data shows its Rhode Island hosts have earned $210 million since 2010.

Rep. Carson and Senator Euer have been working for several years on efforts to identify and tax third-party hosting platforms, which “have created new challenges with respect to public safety, housing availability, and security issues.” ‘equity related to the hospitality industry’.

“In the absence of much-needed state action, communities on Aquidneck Island — where short-term rentals are prevalent in neighborhoods — have paid a vendor to run a local registry so that they can find the owners if there’s a problem,” Rep. Carson said. in a report. “In a state as small as Rhode Island, it makes no sense to leave this job to our overburdened municipalities. It would be simpler and cheaper to have a single statewide registry, and it would provide consistency. This is a problem for every community because anyone, anywhere can list a room for rent. A statewide registry isn’t a juggernaut for anyone, and it would give the state and municipalities the information they need to keep everyone safe and sound.

“The anonymity fostered by third-party platforms and a frequent lack of on-site management reduces the sense of responsibility between tenants and landlords, and sometimes leads tenants to use properties for uncontrollable gatherings,” the press release said. the godfathers. A University of Rhode Island student was murdered over Memorial Day weekend at a party at a short-term rental on Thames Street in Newport.

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