The following is a press release from the Town of Middletown.

Some people say living next to a short-term  rental is like having a commercial motel in the backyard. 

Others argue short-term rentals are good for the town of Middletown and its businesses,  helping property owners pay the bills while growing the economy at a time when it’s needed most. 

The town of Middletown wants to hear what residents and local short-term rental operators think through its latest online survey. Featured at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/middletownrentals, the survey is free and should take two to three minutes to fill out. The deadline to complete the survey is Sunday, Jan. 10,  2021. 

“This is an important issue and we want to give the (Town) Council the data and input from residents and short-term rental operators to help make an informed decision, one based on data and facts,” Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown said. “There are a number of positions  here and we want a transparent process for everyone to have their say.” 

Going back at least five years, the town has tried different approaches to address short term rentals.  

While town officials say they appreciate the activity they can generate for local businesses,  there are those who maintain the cost has been too high. On several occasions, neighbors of such properties have approached the council, publicly complaining about raucous parties,  unsafe parking, and other concerns, particularly during the summer months in the Easton’s  Point area on the southern end of town. 

At the council’s meeting Monday, discussion on a memo on short-term rentals from  President Robert J. Sylvia and Vice President Paul M. Rodrigues was pushed off to the group’s Jan. 19 session. 

The same was true for a proposal from the town’s Economic Development Advisory  Committee to alter the definition of the term “short-term residential lease.” Under the town’s existing definition, a short-term residential lease is a dwelling or similar unit available for rent for six months or less. With the proposal put forward by MEDAC  Chairman Robert M. Silva, that period would be reduced to 21 days or less provided it’s okayed following a public hearing process. 

According to town records, there are 196 short-term rentals registered in town today.  

Under town rules most recently amended in June 2019, short-term rental operators must reregister their properties every April. There’s a $55 fee for each bedroom in any short term rental.  

Local leaders acknowledge the number of short-term rentals is likely greater because some short-term rental operators do not register their properties with the town, a violation punishable with fines and other steps.  

Among other items, the town’s short-term rental regulations also specify:

• No parking on the lawn of a short-term rental is allowed. 

• No more than two people are allowed to sleep in any bedroom, except those under 12 years of age. 

• A copy of the short-term rental lease must posted at the property, with the name of each tenant included. 

• Tenants of a short-term rental can be held legally responsible for any violations committed by guests on the property during their stay. 

• Contact information for the owner and/or a designated property representative must be posted and readily available to police, zoning enforcement, and other town officials. 

• Fines are up to $1,000 per day for violations. 

For a complete listing of the town’s short-term regulations, click here.  

To complete a short-term rental application, click here.

Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.