Legislation to create state registry of short-term, third-party rentals moves forward

LEGISLATION THAT WOULD require a state registry of short-term rental homes using web platforms would include properties in Newport, such as these Airbnb listings advertising July 1-9 availabilities. / AIRBNB.COM SCREENSHOT

PROVIDENCE – Legislation that would establish a short-term rental registry across Rhode Island was approved this week by the R.I. Senate.

The bill, S0501A, is sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer, D-Newport. It would require owners of properties listed on third-party short-term rental platforms, such as Airbnb Inc. or VRBO, to register the site with the R.I. Department of Business Regulation.

The registry would include basic information about each property to ensure compliance with safety and tax law. It would also include the property owner’s contact information.

Euer, who also represents Jamestown, said the current state law requires property owners who use the short-term rental websites to pay state and local taxes for hospitality purposes, but there is no registry of addresses associated with those payments.

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“All they provide is the money with a breakdown of how much is supposed to go to each municipality,” Euer said in a statement. “We don’t get addresses. We don’t even know how many properties are offered or rented this way.”

A companion bill in the R.I. House has been introduced by Rep. Lauren H. Carson, D-Newport.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at MacDonald@PBN.com.

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