KENNEBUNK — The town of Kennebunk is considering a registration and inspection process for short-term rentals, defined as a dwelling that is rented out for fewer than 15 days in a row.

The ordinance would bring the short-term rental market under greater town oversight by mandating that someone operating a short-term rental must register with the Town Clerk and submit to Fire Department inspection.

According to the draft ordinance, owners will have to register their units each year and pay an accompanying application fee. The fee amount is not specified in the current draft. The fire chief or someone on staff would then inspect the unit and confirm with the town clerk that the rental is in line with fire safety and life safety requirements.

Kennebunk residents will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposal during a meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Kennebunk Town Hall, room 300-301.

After the meeting is held, the ordinance review subcommittee will review the feedback from the public and then send then send it to the Select Board to consider. The Select Board will determine whether to put the measure to voters.

“We acknowledge that short-term rentals are a part of our community and are taking measures to put a process in place with a focus on safety,” said Shiloh Schulte, Select Board chair and member of the Ordinance Review Subcommittee, in a press release about the event.


According to AirDNA, a platform that collects data on short-term rentals, Kennebunk had 381 “active” short-term rentals — rentals listed on the market at some point over the last twelve months. The site also noted a 25 percent increase in the past year for available listings, the tally of short-term rentals that are currently available. The average daily rate for a short-term rental is $520.5 in Kennebunk, according to the site.

The proposed measure fits with a pattern of scrutiny around the short-term rental market as Maine grapples with a housing crisis.

Neighboring Kennebunkport has, for example, inked a licensing requirement and a cap on short-term rental requirements, a policy that was adopted in 2021.

In nearby Old Orchard Beach the municipality considered enacting a temporary moratorium on new short-term rental licenses until new rules could be passed governing short-term rentals earlier this fall — but the proposal was rescinded after facing public backlash.

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