Second Beach in Middletown

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 Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.