KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine – The new year will bring new local requirements for short-term housing rentals.
Come Jan. 1, a license from the town will be required for anyone who wants to rent out their dwelling to a tenant for less than 30 days, according to Community Planner Eli Rubin. Anyone who rents a property without a license after New Year’s Day will be in violation of the new ordinance, which voters approved in June.
“The big thing is to encourage people not to delay and to register by Dec. 31,” Rubin said on Tuesday.
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Property owners can submit their applications online to get their license for all of 2022. For more information, visit the town’s website, www.kennebunkportme.gov, or call the code and planning office at (207) 967-1614.
Yes, you too, Goose Rocks Beach
Property owners on Goose Rocks Beach are not exempt from needing permit and also must apply by Dec. 31 to rent in 2022, according to Rubin. Beginning in 2023, any potential future cap on short-term rental permits will not apply to properties in that neighborhood.
There are no defined eligibility requirements yet for renting in 2023 and beyond, Rubin said in a memo he sent this week to Town Manager Laurie Smith.
“People who purchase homes or wish to begin renting short-term in the future will have the opportunity to apply for a permit each October for the subsequent year,” he explained. “However, potential future caps may limit the total number of permits issued in a given year.”
Properties purchased in 2022 will be allowed to rent short-term in 2022 only if the previous owner had obtained a permit.
“This includes Goose Rocks Beach,” Rubin said.
Hundreds have applied
Rubin said the town’s online portal to apply for a license opened Nov. 5. As of Dec. 3, the town had received 255 applications and approved 173, with the remaining 78 pending review, Rubin added.
Reviews tend to have a turnaround time of about three or four weeks.
A total of $95,000 in registration fees had been generated for the town as of Dec. 3, according to Rubin, who was expected to present the statistics and remind the public about the need to register during the selectmen meeting on Thursday, Dec. 9.
Hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, seasonal rental accommodation complexes, and residential rental accommodations are exempt from the ordinance.
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A seasonal rental accommodation complex is defined in the ordinance as a lodging business on a single parcel of land that makes space available for a tenancy of less than 30 days on a seasonal basis. Residential rental accommodations are defined as one or two bedrooms that are rented to a tenant inside the dwelling in which the homeowner lives.
The ordinance gives selectmen the authority to set the licensing fees, based on the number of bedrooms in a short-term rental property. Selectmen will set the number of licenses the town clerk can issue on an annual basis. Regarding violations, selectmen can condition, suspend or revoke a license after a public hearing determining the infraction.
Under the ordinance, the town’s code enforcement officer will inspect a licensed property once every five years to make sure the owner is complying with standards related to safety, sanitation, and “good neighbor” practices.
License-holders are not able to transfer licenses to new owners or locations, according to the ordinance. Exceptions can be made for “permitted transfers,” involving a co-owner of a property, a spouse, child, or grandchild, a trust for the benefit of such family members, or estate-planning purposes.
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Kennebunkport ME short-term housing rental: time to register for 2022