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City Might Sniff Out Online, Unregistered Rentals

On Wednesday, the City Council will consider a measure that would require all online rentals are registered with the city.

More than 500 hotels, bed and breakfasts and other short-term rentals are registered with the city as required by city ordinance.

But in recent years, more and more rooms and homes are being rented through Web sites like Airbnb. And they don't register with the city, which means potentially lost revenue and other complications. 

How big is the problem? Consider that 366 rentals in Newport are listed on airbnb.com as of Monday night -- more than half the number of registered rental dwellings in the entire city.

As a result, city leaders are on the verge of taking action.

On Wednesday, the City Council will consider a measure that would require all online rentals are registered with the city.

In addition, the resolution, sponsored by Councilor Naomi Neville, calls upon the city administration to develop a policy "to ensure that on-line rentals are properly registered and are in compliance with all applicable ordinances" and to prepare a report by the council's October meeting.

A major concern among city officials is the possibility of rentals not meeting the same fire and safety codes as legitimate hotels and bed and breakfasts.

What do you think of the resolution? Is it unfair for bed and breakfasts, hotels and other short-term rental businesses to compete against unregulated properties on sites like airbnb.com? Or is the City Council interfering with the public's right to rent their properties? Chime in in the comments section. And please, keep it civil!

Jack Baillargeron July 08, 2014 at 04:05 PM
Reminds me of something long ago when the Government controlled who could stay in your home without permission, controlling your property. It is in the Declaration Of Independence against King George and one of the many reasons for the colonies revolt and "Revolutionary War". This is no different to me along with the taxes they demand. Just Newport as usual screwing home owners to no end.
Tom July 08, 2014 at 06:06 PM
Its just another way of charging us a city income tax. Isn't the water bill enough. Time to unelect all but two.
Chmn July 08, 2014 at 09:19 PM
This ordinance should be repealed. Newport is the most regulated town. As a taxpayer I should be able to rent out my house without the city trying to get a cut. Look around at Jamestown and Middletown, they don't have restrictions like newport. Why should we? We should regulate welfare housing. Let people who pay property taxes make some money to pay their property taxes and water bill.
Bob July 09, 2014 at 12:12 AM
What Airbnb does is illegal in many cities. Illegal, period. They don't care. The only people that are for this are those who make money from it, and those who save money staying in these illegal unregulated hotels that may be on your block. Porn party anyone? A place to have our escort service do business with no one watching? Let's rent an airbnb. What is next? http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/unexpected-sex-party-destroys-pricy-chelsea-apartment-article-1.1723825 http://nypost.com/2014/04/14/hookers-using-airbnb-to-use-apartments-for-sex-sessions/ http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2013/06/top-5-airbnb-home-rental-horror-stories.html If the voters want the law changed, then so be it. Until then, why is any city allowing an illegal business to operate?
G3 July 09, 2014 at 07:04 AM
If I want to rent a bedroom in my house to someone for a month or two in the summer, I'm going to do it. Newport can go f--k itself.

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