The long-awaited local registration system of short-term rental properties on Nantucket is being delayed while the Health Department awaits a new office manager to help facilitate the system.
The registration system, which is intended to identify all short-term rental properties on the island that are rented for more than 14 days per year and less than 30 consecutive days, was approved by Town Meeting voters last year and intended to start on Jan. 1.
But Nantucket Health Department director Roberto Santamaria told the Current that with the retirement of office manager Anne Barrett, the implementation of the new registration system was on hold until her replacement arrived and gets brought up to speed with new software - sometime after Jan. 23rd.
In the meantime, Santamaria said, the private firm the town has hired to monitor and track short-term rentals on the island, Granicus, will be reaching out to any property owner registered in the state system - which was established three years ago - as well as on the giant online vacation rental websites like Airbnb and VRBO, and island realtors.
Property owners who rent their properties on a short-term basis will have the full year to register before enforcement begins in 2024. Beyond enhancing the town's ability to manage and control short-term rental properties, the registration system is also expected to provide much-needed data on the number of rentals, which will help inform the town's Short-Term Rental Work Group with regard to potential new zoning bylaws under consideration.
Town Meeting voters set the stage for the new regulations last May when they approved Article 39, a general bylaw amendment, to establish a framework to regulate and register short-term rentals on Nantucket. The proposal was sponsored by the Planning Board and was adopted on a 610-302 vote.
Following that vote, a small internal staff group of town staff members convened to prepare draft regulations for the Board of Health and Select Board to consider. The two boards ratified the regulations last September.
Among other provisions, the regulations will require the following:
- Short-term rental operators must obtain a certificate of registration from the Board of Health that has to be renewed annually by Nov. 1.
- Pay an annual fee of $250 per unit for the certificate of registration.
- Short-term rental operators must provide the town with the name and contact information for an individual who can respond to the property at any time of day within two hours to address major issues (such as a fire, plumbing, etc.)
- A certificate of insurance for liability coverage to operate the property as a short-term rental with liability limits of at least $ 1 million per claim, unless the rental is offered through a hosting platform that maintains equal or greater coverage.
- Limit occupancy of short-term rental properties to two people per bedroom plus two additional people in the unit.
- Ensure parking at short-term rentals does not create a public health or public safety issue or create undue traffic congestion.