By Bob Katzen
The Senate 30-8, approved a bill that extends the state’s current 5.7 percent hotel and motel tax and up to a 6 percent local option room occupancy tax to short-term rentals offered by Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO while leaving the regulation of these rentals including registration, licensing and inspections up to local cities and towns.
The measure also allows local cities and towns to impose a local impact fee of up to 3 percent on operators who rent out two or more professionally-managed short-term rental units within a municipality.
Other provisions create a central state registry of short-term rentals and require that a city or town dedicate no less than 35 percent of revenue generated from the new local option fee to either affordable housing or local infrastructure needs.
The measure was approved by both branches and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker who offered amendments to it. The Legislature never acted on the amendments and the bill remains in limbo.