STR discrimination

Is anyone else facing new town rules targeting STR owners? In my very small NH town the selectmen have recently set up a tax and created 20 pages of ordinances for STR and required an inspection which is not applied to any other rental or non rental properties. The tax and the inspections remediations will cost me a significant part of my annual income. I’m mad that they are using such underhanded means to force me to stop renting. Any one else facing this? Are you fighting it? Is there any use in letting AirBnB know about it?
Thanks for letting me vent. :worried:

My state has issued requirements and left the towns the freedom to do what they want in terms of additional taxes and requirements. There are no hotels/motels in my town so it was difficult to compare. You say that no other rentals are subject to inspection, but I suspect that a hotel/motel would be. Unfortunately the time to be active is when the requirements are under consideration. Why do you say it was underhanded? It would help to understand why this came about. Are there not enough affordable, long-term rentals. Are there hotels/motels/inns that complained about the competition. Did someone get injured in an unsafe STR? Airbnb only gets excited if a new rule will significantly reduce the number of rentals available. Given their presence in many countries, state/provinces and municipalities, they have to choose their battles. Such battles are usually at the state or large city level. I don’t know your community but sometimes there are procedures to request variances that might apply. I did not have much luck arguing with my state reps when our requirements went into place, but thankfully the local government hasn’t stepped in.


I am not aware of any problems with STRs in my town. There are no hotels. There isn’t really any town: just one town hall and it is only open 4 hours a week. So competition or accidents aren’t it. When I read town minutes it seems the driver is that a neighboring town has had problems with noise and parking in unauthorized places. In fact my town says the reason for instituting these rules is because the neighboring town has them.

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Please explain what these new requirements are and the additional costs they impose.

What town are you in?

I agree with @Christine_Shirtcliff that it’s best to get involved when these regulations are first discussed. At that time you’d be in the best position to potentially shape the regulations.

However, it’s never too late to meet with your representative, or write, to explain your point of view and explain how the objectives of the regulations might be better met in another way or over-reach in some way(s).

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Changing the railings for an interior staircase and adding a railing to the back porch steps. Moving smoke alarms to high spots in the ceilings in 3 places, adding 4 more smoke alarms. Adding a permanent post at the end of the driveway to add a third house number to that area. I will need to hire someone to do most of this work. I am guessing with materials and labor it will be $3000 or more if I can find someone who will do the work. And I have 45 days to get it done. No pressure!!!

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My city is proposing regulations. I haven’t gone to the meetings and I’m not fighting it. However, Airbnb is now a small part of my income and I only rent a guest room in my home with a separate entrance. If an inspection is required there’s not much that can be done as it’s only 220 sf; it shouldn’t be a financial burden.

I’m not fighting it because I don’t oppose taxing and regulations of STR. My frustration/fear is just that they aren’t evenly applied. As long as everyone operates under the same regulations, I’m not worried.

Christine is right that Airbnb is no help. There are over 12,000 governments (city, county, parish, state, federal) in the US alone. Airbnb did spend $5 million in NJ a few years ago to try to defeat a referendum on regulating STRs and it failed. A majority of voters want STRs regulated.


Thanks everyone. I appreciate your info.

It’s really tough to have the rules change and have to make property changes on short notice. Do you have any info on the timing of the inspection?

I don’t think regulation is necessarily discrimination. We benefit from many types of business and safety regulations – licenses for contractors, traffic calming measures, etc. I would think most local governments meet in public and there are discussions of new proposed rules. I agree that is the time to get involved.

My US county has had what I think is a well-balanced regulation regarding STRs in place for many years. The most onerous requirement is that it be the host’s primary residence. That obviates the issue of STRs diminishing the residential LTR stock. There are also a permitting and business license application process; guest number limits, in total and based on square footage; prohibitions on commercial meetings; and primacy of lease terms and condo and HOA rules.

My STR is subject to state sales tax and local lodging taxes totaling 14.25%. And I file a local business property tax return annually. Just like the local hotels.


Yes in England they’re introducing licensing for STR to help manage the impacts STRs have had on communities and the long term rental market.

This is a good move for communities as there’s lots of anti social behaviour associated with STR s and for guests as it introduces minimum standards for STR properties .

I see any costs for bringing my home up to standard as an expense for my STR business .

I won’t be fighting it as I think it’s a good idea but I will be taking part in the consultation to help shape proposals @Peaches


More than 80% of lawsuits against STRs are trips and falls. The City might have done you a favor in requiring these railings.

The City might also have done you a favor in pointing out the proper placement of smoke alarms and the number you need (four more).

The cost you’re incurring is largely a one-time cost vs recurring annual income.

Complying with the building code and STR regulations is the minimum you’ll want to do to create a safe home for your guests. Look here for more.

If you don’t have commercial liability insurance protection you’ll want to look into that as well.


Everyone is safer when simple things like railings and alarms are regulated. My next door neighbor will not endanger me if they have the right alarms, at least.

When someone complains that they have to spend money to make their home safer I see someone who is not caring and would cut corners in other areas of their life. Who knows how their ‘DIY’ electrical is set up? Is there asbestos unmitigated? I get scared when people call regulations ‘oppressive’…


I don’t have any problem with complying w building codes. I do have a problem when these refs are only enforced with homes that do STR. The regs are not applicable to long term renters. :worried:


That’s actually something misunderstood by many. Asbestos isn’t dangerous at all if it is undisturbed. It is the dry fibers that get inhaled by asbestos miners, or by construction work, which disturbs it, so dry fibers float around, that is dangerous. Asbestos insulation inside walls or ceilings doesn’t pose a risk to anyone. It isn’t like plastics or latex paint which is constantly gassing off.

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Folks who have asbestos flaking off their furnace pipes, folks who are removing asbestos tiles without proper tools - the asbestos floating in the air from these kinds of construction work are scary


I agree with you that the regulations should apply to all rentals.

Still, it’s a good thing when safety regulations are in place for STRs. You have to start somewhere.

There is one distinction – though I’m not suggesting this as justifying the lack of safety regulations for long-term rentals – and that is that a short-term rental guest is not going to be familiar with the property as a long-term tenant will become. So I do think that it’s especially important that short-term rentals are safe. Plus, the local municipality will often be generating taxes or other fees from an STR, which gives it a budget for inspections.

You might want to make the case to your representatives that such safety regs should apply across the board to increase safety for all.

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Yes, as I said, if the asbestos is exposed, removed, and can then flake off, break, etc, that’s when it becomes dangerous.

I had a boyfriend who worked in asbestos removal. Of course they wore full protective gear, but they also wet it down before moving it, so the fibers wouldn’t fly around and be dangerous to anyone else in the area, or during transport.

Asbestos removal isn’t a DIY project- it would be foolish to do that. It requires professionals.

But they have different regs to follow. The main one that drives some LTR landlords to become STR managers is tenant law.


Of course, the STR laws won’t apply to LTRs. The long-term rental laws don’t apply to your STR either. They are, legally, entirely different types of properties.

However, now that you mention it, applying the LTR laws to STRs would surely be the most efficient way to curb the number of STRs :smile: I’m surprised it hasn’t been done yet. You could half the number of STRs overnight. sQUatTeRs :joy:

If it makes you feel any better, even though the new STR laws won’t apply to residential rentals (LTR), those are already highly regulated and generally are inspected. The other safety requirements are laid out within the laws that pertain to them already. I have both STR and LTRs and the safety regulations are by far more onerous for my LTRs.

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My city recently implemented new bylaws that STR must be licenced which includes rules about it being in the context of an owner occupied residence and following building and fire codes. They announced it last fall, with a deadline this spring. Since the deadline they have been sending out letters of warning. There is no hammer coming down, they are working with people to get things done although I imagine at some point it will become punitive.

I’m surprised you say that LTR does not have governing laws. Around here they sure do. It’s a different set than STR, but they’re there.

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I think the OP was saying that the new STR regulations relate only to the STRs. Long-term rentals generally have their own regulations.