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Rep. Dykema Votes to Ensure Safety and Consumer Protection for Short-Term Rentals

by Press Release
March 31, 2018

 

BOSTON – Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives in voting to pass H.4314, An Act regulating and ensuring short-term rentals. This bill implements a regulatory framework for the growing short-term rental industry, where an increasing number of Massachusetts residents and businesses are offering rentals through websites like AirBnB.

This legislation creates important public safety and consumer protection measures, including insurance requirements and safety inspections for rental properties. It also implements a statewide excise that is consistent with existing assessments on the hospitality industry, creating a tiered system in which hosts are taxed in proportion to the number of rooms they rent. In addition, the bill allows for a local option assessment for cities and towns with the requirement that 50 percent of the revenue generated by municipalities be spent directly on infrastructure or affordable housing.

“As short-term rentals continue to grow in popularity across Massachusetts, this bill will ensure that hosts and visitors are treated fairly and safely,” said Rep. Dykema. “For some communities there will be additional benefits, including new local revenues that can be used to make overdue investments in critical infrastructure, including water infrastructure. This legislation is an important step for the whole Commonwealth.” 

An amendment to the bill filed by Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) creates a trust known as the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund to generate and disburse additional funding for water infrastructure maintenance and expansion on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, where the short-term rental industry is booming. The bill will allow member municipalities to assess an additional fee that is designated for spending on new projects and debt service to alleviate some of the Commonwealth’s estimated $17.8 billion gap in funding for water infrastructure.

“We rely on water infrastructure to keep our economy running smoothly, and funding is badly needed to maintain, repair, and grow our existing system,” said Rep. Dykema. “Clean water is one of our most precious resources, and we cannot take it for granted.”

H.4314 now travels to the Senate for consideration.

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Representative Carolyn Dykema represents the communities of Holliston, Hopkinton, Southborough and Precinct 2 of Westborough in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

 

 

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Comments (2)

H.4314, An Act regulating and ensuring short-term rentals. For many years I was a Republican, including four years in the Mass. House: 1968 -1971. I was always a fiscal conservative, and, at the same time a social liberal. Many like to forget the latter part. I have to agree that this bill does more to infringe upon our freedoms than the value of the protection it provides. Dammit, my house is my castle, and if I want to rent a room to a willing renter I don't think it is any of the state or town's business beyond that I report my annual income at tax time. I don't run or advertise a business as a public house or hotel. Actually, I also don't rent a room to anybody. (Does this bill effect my constitutional protection against unlawful search and seizure: otherwise how would "they" know I rent a room if I did?) Governmental supervision and enforcement of laws costs money, so there has to be a tax if the State Government is to intrude into these areas of private and personal activity. Both the social and financial costs of this bill to Massachusetts Citizens far exceed any reasonable protection it can offer. The government should not be in the business of protecting us from ourselves. This bill is simply a government income- making form of arrogant elitism.

- John Losch | 4/2/18 8:05 PM

Alternate headline: "Rep. Dykema Votes to Increase Your Taxes... Again"

- Raul Quintanilla | 4/1/18 9:23 AM

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