The Falmouth Town Council will vote July 26 whether to fine people who fail to register rental properties. The fines are part of a proposal regulating short-term rentals, and applies to anyone renting to guests for fewer than 30 consecutive days.

If approved, the proposal would go into effect Jan. 1.

At a May 10 public meeting, Kathleen Duddy said some short-term rentals in her neighborhood have led to “issues with parking and parties.”

Duddy said she was grateful some sort of regulation will be implemented.

A third-party company, Host Compliance, would help with data collection and enforcing the ordinance. Operating or advertising a rental unit without registering with the town would result in a  $1,000-per-day fine for a first offense and an a $1,500 per-day fine for each additional offense.

Host Compliance said property abutters could be notified when a short-term rental is listed, although this is not currently part of the ordinance.

Under the ordinance, those operating rentals would have to provide an emergency contact person who would be able to respond to complaints regarding the condition of the property within an hour. A hotline through Host Compliance would be available to call to make complaints.

The owner would also have to provide certifiable insurance, specify if the dwelling is owner-occupied and if it is their primary dwelling. A non-refundable registration fee would be determined by the town, which councilors have considered at around $300. The fee schedule will be voted on along with the ordinance July 26.

“I would say that our ordinance is definitely a light touch when compared with some other towns’ ordinances,” Administrative Analyst Maggie Fleming said at a May 10 meeting. Some towns have capped the number of rentals that can be registered as well as have defined occupancy limits, she added.

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