State Senate passes bill to register AirBnB and third party rental homes

NEWPORT, R.I. (WLNE)- A bill is passing through the Statehouse that could impact the future of vacation homes in The Ocean State.

The State Senate has approved a bill that would require all AirBnB and third party rental homes to register to a state database.

State Rep. Lauren Carson (D)-45th district said this bill would give municipalities an easier way to track who’s owning and who’s staying at these properties.
“I always say the main way people find out that there is an airbnb on their block is that all of a sudden they see 10 cars parked outside and see people they never met before. Then next weekend there’s 10 different cars and they say wait a minute something is going on over there.”
Currently, no government entity can track rentals through third-party platforms.
This new database would be a statewide registry of basic information about each property.
Including the owner’s contact information in case of an emergency, and information about compliance with local safety and tax regulations.
“If there is a fire in a rental property who do you call when the building burns down? The people in the building may see I rented it on this website but the fire department and everyone else is saying we don’t know who owns the property,  ” Carson said.
A bill that could bring more clarity in emergency situations.
“Once we know where they are, municipalities can try to track them down for compliance and do whatever it is they need to do so they can meet municipal health and safety requirements.”
ABC6 received a statement from the Travel Technology Association that reads in part:

“The bill passed by the Senate is unworkable, violates federal law and won’t solve problems or address the concerns of communities. Communities requiring residents who rent their homes to register is a reasonable approach, but creating a statewide registry and requiring platforms to pre-qualify registrations is not feasible, especially since the bill provides no mechanism for short-term rental platforms to verify registration information.


“Further, according to the RI Department of Business Regulation, the registry created by this bill would trigger building and fire and safety requirements, which would mean homeowners would have to install sprinkler systems and be subject to regular fire and safety inspections. This is an unfair burden on Rhode Island homeowners who choose to earn extra income by renting out their properties. It’s a sledge hammer approach by the legislature when communities already have the tools and resources to regulate rentals.”

The bill currently awaits approval from the State House of Representatives.

Categories: News, Politics, Rhode Island