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States restrict short-term rentals in response to pandemic

  • Sep 8, 2020 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

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Updated September 8. Originally published April 9.

As states take measures to fight the spread of COVID-19, some have placed restrictions on short-term rentals. In many cases, officials are concerned about nonlocal residents traveling to area vacation rentals and potentially spreading the disease. All the state-level restrictions include exemptions, such as providing accommodations to health care workers.

Many city and county governments are also placing their own restrictions on short-term rentals within their boundaries. Check with your local government to see if any restrictions apply to your short-term rental.

Arkansas

Arkansas has lifted its rules about what types of guests can stay at short-term rentals.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued an order on April 4 limiting the types of authorized guests that short-term rentals could accept, including health care professionals, first responders, law enforcement, government employees on official business, hospital patients and their families, and people unable to return home due to various circumstances. Those limits have expired.
updated September 8

Connecticut

Short-term rentals in Connecticut were allowed to accept guests with reservations starting June 17 as part of the second phase of the state’s reopening.

Starting June 24, anyone traveling into Connecticut, New York, or New Jersey from a state that has a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average is required to self-quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. 

Governor Ned Lamont issued an executive order April 3 that banned hotels and vacation rentals from renting to guests for leisure or vacation.
updated September 8

Delaware

Short-term rentals in Delaware can resume operations beginning June 1 after Governor John Carney ended the state’s stay-at-home order and lifted restrictions on commercial lodging related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Carney also ended a mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state visitors.

On April 6, Carney modified his state of emergency declaration to close all commercial lodging, including hotels and vacation rentals, to leisure guests.
updated June 1

Florida

In Florida, several counties have lifted the ban on vacation rentals after Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Florida counties may submit proposals for doing so.

DeSantis shut vacation rentals down March 27, and extended the order through the first phase of the state’s reopening plan. The state moved on to its Full Phase 1 plan May 18. Hotels, motels, inns, and other short-term accommodations have been allowed to stay open.

The short-term rental order included some exemptions, including rentals to guests already staying in a vacation rental as of March 28. Rentals to guests working as part of military, emergency, government, health, or infrastructure response are also exempt, as are travelers engaged in non-vacation commercial activities.

According to the governor’s order, violators will lose their rental licenses and can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
updated June 1

Hawaii

Hawaii has pushed back the date of when it can reopen to tourists to October 1 “at the earliest,” according to Governor David Ige, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise on the island.

Currently, short-term rentals in Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island are allowed to welcome guests who are not subject to the state of Hawaii’s COVID-19 quarantine.

The state requires a 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in Hawaii. At one point, the quarantine was lifted for interisland travel, but it was reimposed recently for people traveling to Maui, the Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, or Molokai from any other island. The quarantine does not apply to interisland travelers going to Oahu.

Oahu vacation rentals have not yet been allowed to reopen.

Starting August 27, all Oahu nonessential businesses, including parks, beaches, and state forest land trails, are closed for two weeks under a Stay at Home, Work at Home order. 
updated September 8

Maine

Short-term rentals in Maine were allowed to offer lodging beginning June 1, following state quarantine requirements.

New rules went into effect in July requiring people who are not residents of Maine or an exempted state to complete a Certificate of Compliance form stating that they have received a negative COVID-19 test result, have already quarantined in Maine, or will quarantine in Maine for 14 days. Visitors are allowed to quarantine in short-term rentals.

Governor Janet Mills issued an order for short-term rentals and other lodgings to suspend operations beginning April 5, with exemptions for health care and other essential workers, vulnerable populations, state-arranged quarantine accommodations, and limited extenuating circumstances.
updated September 8

Massachusetts

Massachusetts short-term rentals reopened for business June 8, as the state moved to the second phase of its reopening plan following restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Vacation rental operators are required to follow sanitation protocol standards.

On March 31, Governor Charlie Baker issued an order prohibiting the use of short-term rentals for leisure or vacation and reserving them for essential purposes.
updated June 12

New Hampshire

Short-term rentals in New Hampshire were allowed to resume operations starting June 5 for in-state and New England residents as well as residents from other states who have quarantined for 14 days, Governor Chris Sununu announced May 29.

On April 6, Sununu ordered vacation rentals and hotels to suspend operations. They were still allowed to provide state-approved quarantine accommodations and housing for essential health care workers, first responders, and victims of domestic and sexual violence. 
updated September 8

New Mexico

The state’s emergency public health order allows places of lodging to operate at a maximum of 50% occupancy. In the case of vacation rentals, occupancy is determined based on the number of properties managed by a property manager.

As of September 4, places of lodging that have been safe-certified may expand maximum occupancy to 75%. All places of lodging must operate in accordance with COVID-Safe Practices.

Starting September 3, travelers coming to New Mexico from states with a 5% positivity rate or greater, or a new case rate greater than 80 per 1 million residents, each calculated over a 7-day rolling average, are required to quarantine for at least 14 days. They may quarantine in short-term rentals.

Travelers who can show documentation of a valid negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before or after entry into New Mexico are exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement, except for people coming to New Mexico after traveling outside of the United States. Travelers who have taken a COVID-19 test are required to self-isolate while awaiting the results of their test.

The New Mexico Department of Health issued a public health order April 6 that closed short-term rentals of rooms, apartments, and houses.
updated September 8

Pennsylvania

On July 29, all counties in Pennsylvania moved to the “green phase” of the state’s reopening plan, allowing short-term rentals to resume operations. Businesses must observe the state’s Business and Building Safety Orders.

Governor Tom Wolf shut down short-term rentals amid concerns that some short-term rental hosts were marketing Pennsylvania properties as an escape from COVID-19. The ban went into effect March 30. Hotels and motels were allowed to remain open.
updated September 8

Vermont

Vermont short-term rentals are allowed to accept guests who are Vermont residents or are coming from an area with less than 400 active cases per million residents. Visitors from other areas must fulfill Vermont’s quarantine requirements

People traveling to Vermont directly in their personal vehicles may fulfill quarantine requirements by self-quarantining in their home state for 14 days, or completing a 7-day quarantine followed by a negative test in their home state before they travel to Vermont.

Visitors taking public transportation or driving in a personal vehicle with stops will need to complete either a 14-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine followed by a negative test when they arrive in Vermont.

On March 30, Governor Phil Scott ordered all lodging to close, including short-term rentals.
updated September 8

Get the latest tax relief information

For updated information on other local and federal responses to the pandemic that may affect short-term rental hosts, including income tax and property tax relief, see our COVID-19 tax relief roundup.


Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.