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Rhode Island short-term rental operators must register with Department of Business Regulation

  • Jan 11, 2022 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Rhode Island

Rhode Island short-term rental hosts who list their properties on third-party websites such as Vrbo and Airbnb are now required to register with the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, according to a new state law. The measure went into effect after the General Assembly overrode the governor’s veto of the measure on January 4.

In Rhode Island, short-term rentals are defined as stays in transient accommodations lasting up to 30 days.

Under the law, short-term rental hosts must register with the department and submit the following information:

  • Rental property address
  • Property owner/manager’s phone number and email address
  • Owner’s principal place of business, or an agent or property manager if the owner is located out of state
  • Number of rooms for rent
  • Whether the registrant rents or owns
  • Intended use (rental of entire space, private room, or shared space)

The state will create a short-term rental database with the information.

Short-term rental marketplaces must inform their hosts of the new requirement by June 1, 2022, and remove any listings that are not registered by that date. Hosts with online marketplace listings who fail to register will face a fine of $250 for the first 30 days, $500 for 31 to 60 days, and $1,000 for 60 days or more. 

Short-term rental marketplaces also face fines for listing an unregistered rental property. The Department of Business Regulation may create further rules on registration, including required fees.

Rhode Island short-term rental hosts have earned $210 million since 2010 with Airbnb, according to the company.

“Short-term rentals have become a thriving industry. In places like our districts in Newport, investors have been buying up housing to rent in this way, and the state is not tracking where these businesses are operating. It’s impossible to ensure safety or compliance with laws when we don’t even know where the rentals are. Rhode Island needs to keep up with the evolving rental industry and adopt a statewide registry,” said Rhode Island Senator Dawn Euer.

In addition to the new rule requiring vacation rental operators to register with the state Department of Business Regulation, Rhode Island hosts must also register with the Rhode Island Division of Taxation, collect lodging taxes from their guests, file regular lodging tax returns, and pay the taxes.

If hosts use a short-term rental marketplace that collects all guest payments, the marketplace is required to register with the Rhode Island Division of Taxation, charge and collect taxes, and remit the tax on hosts’ behalf. Hosts who collect payments from short-term rental guests directly are responsible for their own lodging tax compliance.

MyLodgeTax can help Rhode Island vacation rental hosts automate and simplify tax compliance. For more on lodging taxes in Rhode Island, see our state Vacation Rental Tax Guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.

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.
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Learn more about RI lodging tax rules