Barnstable Short-Term Rental Information Page
The Town of Barnstable is considering policy and
regulatory options to address the short-term rental
of dwelling units.
On June 18, 2020, the Town Council introduced two items pertaining to short term rentals in the Town of Barnstable. One item is a general ordinance creating a registration process and associated regulations for the operation of short term rentals. The other item is a proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance that would recognize short term rental as a permitted use of a residential dwelling. See the rationale provided with each item for further explanation and details.
Item 2020-192 - Proposed General Ordinance
Item 2020-193 - Proposed Zoning Amendment
The Planning Board held a public hearing on a proposed Zoning Amendment addressing short term rentals (Item 2020-193) on July 13th. The Board took public comment, deliberated on the matter, and closed public comment. The Planning Board put the item on their July 27th agenda for further discussion amongst the Board. A recording of the July 13th Planning Board meeting can be viewed here.
The Town Council referred Item 2020-192 (General
Ordinance) to a public hearing on Thursday, July
16th and the item appears on the
agenda. A Council vote must be
taken to open and continue the item to a subsequent
agenda, or the Council may choose to open and hold a
public hearing on the matter at the July 16th
Item 2020-193 (Zoning Amendment) is not on the Town Council agenda for Thursday, July 16th.
Short Term Rentals Map
This map shows short term rentals registered with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in the Town of Barnstable as of April 2020.
June 18, 2020: Town Council
introduced a proposed General Ordinance and
amendment to Zoning Ordinance.
July 13, 2020: The Planning Board held a public hearing on the proposed Short Term Rental amendment to the Zoning Ordinance. The item was continued to July 27th. The Planning Board makes a recommendation to the Town Council on the proposed zoning amendment. Click here for the Planning Board website.
July 16, 2020: The General Ordinance was referred to a public hearing on this date. Click here for the Town Council website.
What is a short-term rental?
In Massachusetts, short term rentals must now register with the Department of Revenue. The Commonwealth defines a short-term rental as "an occupied property that is not a hotel, motel, lodging house or bed and breakfast establishment, where at least one room or unit is rented out by an operator through the use of advance reservations." Beginning July 1, 2019, room occupancy excise tax applies to short-term rentals of property for 31 days or less, when that property is offered for short term rental for more than 14 totals days in a year. More information on the Commonwealth's new short term rental legislation can be found below.
Short term rentals are offered for rent in a number of ways: privately, managed by leasing/rental agents, or online, through sites such as Airbnb, VRBO or HomeAway. Month to month leases, tenancies at will, bed and breakfasts, lodging houses, hotels, and/or motels are not considered Short-Term Rentals.
Short term rentals and COVID-19
For information about reopening plans in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts visit: Mass.gov - Reopening Massachusetts
For information about travel to Massachusetts during the state of emergency visit Mass.gov - Travel Information related to COVID-19.
Information and Involvement
Elizabeth Jenkins, Director of Planning & Development, 508-862-4735 Brian Florence, Building Commission/Director of Inspectional Services, 508-862-4038
Brian Florence, Building Commission/Director of Inspectional Services, 508-862-4038
Short Term Rental Survey
The Town conducted an online resident survey to collect information about personal experiences with short-term rentals, thoughts about potential regulations, and opinions on benefits and drawbacks to our community
A summary of the survey was presented to the Town Council Zoning & Regulatory Committee on November 7th. Please click here to view that summary.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I have a concern about a property that I believe is a short-term rental?
If you see or hear any issues related to noise, unpermitted events, or feel unsafe in any way, please call the Barnstable Police (911) for immediate assistance. If there are issues related to garbage, refuse, septage, or other public health concerns, please contact the Health Department at 508-862-4644 to report issues.
Room Occupancy Tax FAQs
Legislation was recently signed into law which subjects short-term rentals of property to the room occupancy excise, G.L. c. 64G, as of July 1, 2019.
The new law imposes state and local excises on short-term rentals of property for more than 14 days in a calendar year, starting July 1, 2019 for which a rental contract was entered into on or after January 1, 2019.
All short-term rental operators will be required to register with DOR. Operators may choose to allow an intermediary or other agent to handle the rental of their property and register with and submit returns and tax due to DOR on their behalf. The DOR anticipates the registry to be up and running in March 2019.
Where can I get more information regarding the new law?
Many of the questions the town has received can be answered by referencing the Department of Revenue’s website which includes an FAQ. You can find the FAQ on their website at: DOR Frequently Asked Questions
I am an operator of a short-term rental. Is there an organization I can contact that can assist me with understanding an operator’s responsibilities under the new law?
The Cape & Islands Association of Realtors has issued this guidance for homeowners and managers of short term rentals: www.cciaor.com/shorttermrentals/
Further questions can be directed to Mr. Ryan Castle, CEO of the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors at 508-957-4300.
Is there a Town of Barnstable employee I can contact with questions regarding the new law?
Mark Milne, Director of Finance, can be contacted at 508-862-4660.
Why is the Town of Barnstable’s local excise tax on short-term rental 6%?
The local excise tax rate on short-term rentals in each community of the Commonwealth is set at the rate that is in effect for hotels, motels, Bed & Breakfasts, and lodging houses at the time the law was passed.
Who pays the Town the local excise tax?
No. The local excise tax collected by each operator/agent of a short-term rental is paid to the Department of Revenue.
I am an operator of a short-term rental. Who do I pay the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund excise tax to?
This tax, along with the state excise tax and the local excise tax are all paid to the Department of Revenue.
Is there anything further I need to do if I host a short-term rental?
Yes. You need to register your rental property with the Town of Barnstable Health Division. Please see the link below for the rental application. This is an annual registration that needs to be submitted every year. If you have any further questions please contact the Health Division at 508-862-4644.
What are the total taxes that need to be collected on a short-term rental located in Barnstable?
There is a state excise tax of 5.7%, a Town of Barnstable excise tax of 6% and the Cape Cod & Islands Water Protection Fund excise tax of 2.75% for a total of 14.45% tax that needs to be applied.
What is the Cape Cod & Islands Water Protection Fund?
This fund was created to assist the towns on Cape Cod and the Islands in addressing the area wide wastewater management plan under section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act. All 15 towns on Cape Cod are currently members. Nantucket and the communities on Martha’s Vineyard are not currently members. More information on the new fund can be found here.
What is the Cape Cod & Islands Water Protection Board?
This board was created to oversee the Cape Cod & Islands Water Protection Fund. The board will consist of 1 member from each community that belongs to the fund. The management board duties include determining the method for subsidy allocation, including but not limited to, an equitable distribution among participating municipalities for projects in the form of a grant or debt relief. The Board ensures that monies from the fund are spent only for the purposes listed in the law.
Is there a process to ensure that revenue for projects and debt relief is evenly distributed to participating towns across the Cape and Islands?
Yes. The legislation includes the language that the management board’s duties will include determining the method for subsidy allocation, including, but not limited to, an equitable distribution among participating municipalities consistent with revenue deposited from each municipality into the fund.
Are there any exemptions from the room occupancy excise?
The following establishments are exempt from the excise taxes: