Action Alert: Oppose Short-Term Rental Tax

Long row of cottages along the beach in Turo along Cape Cod Massachusetts

The House of Representatives is expected to take up a bill on Thursday (delayed due to the storm Wednesday) that seeks to tax, regulate, and potentially restrict short-term rentals in the Commonwealth. MAR opposes this legislation for two main reasons.

1.    The bill would grant cities and towns the explicit authority to restrict a property owner’s right to rent their unit on a short-term basis; and
2.    It would require homeowners to comply with onerous business regulations and administrative burdens that were never intended for the average homeowner.

MAR is supporting two amendments to the bill.

Amendment 6: Would strike a provision that would allow cities and towns to restrict short-term rentals by passing by-laws or ordinances that would include a limit on the number of days an owner may rent out a home or requiring that each home is an owner’s primary residence.

By way of example, a city or town would be able to prohibit homeowners from renting out their property for more than 14 days per year, or from renting out a second home on Cape Cod in order to off-set their mortgage and carrying costs, simply because it is not their primary residence.

In addition, by authorizing cities and towns to impose a business licensing requirement on short-term rentals, H.4314 would impair a fundamental attribute of private property ownership—the right to rent—and convert it to an unlawful business use for which the “privilege” of a license is required.

Amendment 14: Would clarify language to ensure that Realtors® who collect rent and taxes from renters would be able to pass those funds on to the owner, without incurring any tax filing obligations.

What We Need You to Do:

Please contact your State Representative and let him or her know that this bill is bad for homeowners and private property rights in Massachusetts and ask that they support these amendments.

Look up your state representative.

Sample Call Script:

Hello, my name is ______________ and I am a Realtor® and constituent from ______(TOWN)_________.

I’m calling today to talk about H.4314 the short-term rental bill that the House will be considering.

I am opposed to this bill because it seeks to allow communities to restrict a property owner’s right to rent their property simply because it is for a short stay.
This is important to me because this bill would impair a fundamental attribute of private property ownership—the right to rent—and convert it to an unlawful business use for which the “privilege” of a license is required.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® is supporting two amendments that would improve this bill. Number 6 filed by Rep. Tackey Chan and Number 14 filed by Rep. Daniel Cahill.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today.

Read more information on House Bill H4314.