New Ordinance Would Tighten Restrictions on Short-Term Rentals

City Council is in the process of drafting a new ordinance that would impose more regulations on short-term rentals managed through booking sites, such as Airbnb, in the City of Everett.

Council will vote whether or not to enroll the ordinance at its next meeting on Nov. 12.

Written with the help of outside attorneys and the Inspectional Services Department, the new short-term rental ordinance would replace the one that has been on the books since July 1.

Highlights from Ordinance 365 on short-term rentals:

•New short-term rentals will be registered directly with the Licensing Board. Currently they are registered through the Clerk’s Office.

•Certain properties will be ineligible to rent out for short-term stays. These include units that are designated as income-restricted or below market rate, or units considered problem properties.

•Rental units must not be in violation of any building, sanitary, zoning or fire codes, or have any existing orders of abatement or stop-work orders.

•Seven days prior to registering a property, operators must notify any residents living within a 150-foot radius of the proposed rental. Under the old ordinance, owners were not required to notify abutters until after applying for a license.

•Operators of short-term rentals must provide proof that the building containing the rental unit is their primary residence. This applies to rental operators who rent out units in a single-family or multi-family home. In some cases where a landlord does not live on the premises, a 24/7 management company overseeing the property may suffice. This measure, which is the norm in many other cities, came after reports that absentee landlords in Everett were hosting guests that threw rowdy and destructive parties.

•Short-term rental operators must show proof of a current liability insurance policy.

•Rental operators must clearly post safety measures for guests, detailing emergency exits, the location of fire extinguishers and fire alarms, parking regulations and trash collection information.

•Certain properties will be ineligible to rent out for short-term stays. These include units that are designated as income-restricted or below market rate, or units considered problem properties.

On Nov. 12, Council will vote to enroll the ordinance. If enrolled, it will then be posted in the paper and at the City Clerk’s Office for public viewing. The final vote will be held at the Council meeting on Nov. 25, at which time the local community can speak for or against the ordinance. If approved by Council, the ordinance will then become law.

Council is also working on drafting another short-term rental ordinance, this one having to do with zoning. It will be sent directly to the Planning Board and will be up for a vote to enroll at the first Council meeting in December.

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