EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island regulators have proposed a $50 registration fee for short-term rentals following the passage of a law creating a statewide registry.
The law, which passed last year after the General Assembly overrode Gov. Dan McKee’s veto, will require property owners renting out their homes to pay the fee. Owners will also have to pay a $50 renewal fee every two years.
The registry will be the first time homes are identified in a database as short-term rentals. The fee schedule will also apply to short-term properties listed on third-party hosting platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo.
State Rep. Lauren Carson, D-Newport, said the registry will address information access concerns related to public safety.
“There’s been incidents in properties that police didn’t know who owned it,” Carson explained. “They go to the door, they say, ‘What’s going on here?’ and then they are told ‘We are only vacationing here,’ so we really need to give access to this information.”
Carson also argued the law is not creating more obstacles for Rhode Island businesses.
“We already require so many other types of businesses to register,” Carson said. “Let’s recognize these property owners as businesses.”
The new regulations will also require owners to complete an application to the Department of Business Regulation. Those who own multiple properties must register them individually.
The public can weigh in on the proposed $50 fee until Aug. 27. Following that, the DBR will finalize the fee amount.
R.I. Commerce tells 12 News there are roughly 4,000 short-term rentals in Rhode Island, though that number will change once the registry is created.