The legislature has sent to the Governor a bill that taxes and regulates short term rentals. The bill levels the playing field by taxing short-term rentals and accommodations rented through hosting platforms like AirBnb at the same uniform tax rate imposed on stays at traditional brick-and-mortar lodging accommodations like hotels/motels/bed & breakfast establishments.

Newton has a local 6% excise on rooms occupancy for hotels, which will now apply to short term rentals as well. In addition, the state now provides for a new 3% community impact fee on operators who rent out 2 or more professionally managed short-term rental units within the municipality. The city should seriously consider taking advantage of this new fee. The law requires at least 35% to go towards affordable housing, but the city can spend a larger portion or all on affordable housing. Affordable housing that we desperately need.

We shouldn’t let this opportunity pass by without seriously considering the potential benefits Newton could accrue from this new revenue source.

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