President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio and Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi today issued the following joint statement following the Governor’s veto of legislation to regulate short-term rental properties such as Airbnb and VRBO:

We are extremely disappointed that the Governor has chosen to veto legislation requiring short-term rental properties to register.

It is not asking too much to require the Department of Business Regulation to, in fact, regulate businesses. The responsibility given to DBR under this bill was merely to establish and maintain a list of properties offered for short-term rental. It would be the obligation of the global hosting platforms to ensure their properties are registered with DBR.

 

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The existing procedures through the Division of Taxation are woefully insufficient, and there is no way for municipalities to know which of their properties are being utilized for short term rentals. Some communities, such as Newport, Narragansett and Westerly, are being overwhelmed by short-term rentals, without the ability to determine if they are receiving appropriate tax revenue or make corresponding decisions regarding their resources. The Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns supported the legislation precisely because of the incredible burden municipalities are facing from short-term rentals.

We will be carefully considering our next steps.

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