BARNSTABLE – The Barnstable Town Council has approved changes to a general ordinance regarding potential changes to short-term rental property operations within the town.
The ordinance addresses properties that are rented out through services such as Airbnb.
It calls for owners to have no more than two of these properties registered with the town, along with owner contact information that is easily accessible for those staying at the properties, among other things.
After a lengthy meeting, amendments to the ordinance include things such as limiting the amount of that type of rental property in the town to 1,500 at most, requiring stays to be at least three nights long, and establishing a higher annual fee to register a short-term property with the town.
The changes were made after local residents voiced their opinions during the meeting. Ellen Nosal of Centerville contended that these property owners are not primarily residents of the area full-time, but are generating revenue in single-family home areas.
“These owners’ sole purpose is to make money,” Nosal said.
“I could not open a restaurant or a service station on my street, but anyone can run a hotel-type establishment and pay taxes at the same rate as I do.”
Nosal added that the short-term properties could also negatively impact home values across the town.
Barnstable Village resident John Temple does own a property that has been rented on Airbnb multiple times.
He explained during the meeting that he has never had any major issues with guests, and that he is an example of someone who lives in Barnstable full-time who does not utilize property rentals solely as an investment opportunity.
“I have no problem at all with excluding people who buy houses and turn them into hotels from the scene here,” Temple said.
“But, I am a one of a large number of people who have the potential to get some seasonal revenue from an apartment that’s been there in our own house for some time.”
Temple said that imposing a one week minimum stay would be too restrictive for visitors, as many travelers stay for four or five nights.
The ordinance is expected to go to a final vote in front of the Barnstable Town Council on October 1. More information on the ordinance can be found on the town’s website.