We have just learned that Governor Charlie Baker has reversed his opinion regarding the lodging tax on short-term rentals! During a radio interview last week, he had indicated that he would sign the hotel lodging tax to apply to all short-term rentals. Today, however, he expressed concern about the negative impact of this lodging tax on vacation rentals that are so popular on the Cape and Islands. So, although we are not out of the woods yet, this is a step in the right direction as the joint House/Senate conference committee continues discussions this week.
We suspect that, when Gov. Baker gave his backing last week, he was thinking of the tax as an “AirBnB tax” on the many rooms and apartments in Boston rented out on a nightly basis. AirBnB has received a great deal of media attention nationwide as the number of units in major cities continues to grow without being subject to the lodging tax that is required of hotel stays. Presumably, Governor Baker more clearly understands the important distinction between the smaller, shorter-term, urban rentals typically listed on Airbnb and those full-size, separate, weekly rentals more common on the Cape and Islands rented on a seasonal basis.
We are thankful to our many homeowners who wrote to their state legislators expressing their concern about the impact of this tax on their rentals and the local housing industry, and we think this has played a role in informing our legislators of the potential negative and unintended consequences of this tax. It’s certainly not too late to voice your opinion, especially since this issue will resurface again in 2017, even if it is defeated this year. See more.