What you need to know about recent legislation on short-term rentals

Category: Blog

The Massachusetts House and Senate reached a compromise on the short-term rentals bill that taxes and regulates short-term rentals through websites like Airbnb, including language that exempts owners who rent out their properties fewer than 15 days a year. Governor Baker signed the bill into law on Dec. 28, 2018.

Under the new law, all short-term rentals must still be registered and insured, but only people or businesses that offer rentals for more than 14 nights per year are subject to the State’s 5.7 percent hotel tax.

The insurance requirements of the proposal for short-term rentals state that:

1) Operators must maintain liability insurance of not less than $1,000,000 to cover each short-term rental, unless such short-term rental is offered through a hosting platform that maintains equal or greater coverage. Such coverage shall defend and indemnify the operator and any tenants or owners in the building for bodily injury and property damage arising from the short-term rental.

2) Prior to an operator offering a short-term rental through the use of a hosting platform, the hosting platform shall provide notice to the operator that standard homeowners or renters insurance may not cover property damage or bodily injury to a third-party arising from the short-term rental.

3) Insurers that write homeowners and renters insurance may exclude any and all coverage afforded under the policy issued to a homeowner or lessee for any claim resulting from a short-term rental of any accommodation. Insurers that exclude short-term rental coverage shall not have a duty to defend or indemnify any claim expressly excluded by a policy.

4) Any policy or policy form intended to cover operators of short-term rentals from liabilities, whether the policy or policy form is provided by a hosting platform or an operator itself, shall be filed according to instructions provided by the Division of Insurance.

5) An operator who intends to operate a short-term rental shall provide notice to any insurer that writes a homeowners or renters insurance policy for the property where such short-term rental is to be located of the operator’s intent to operate such short-term rental.

The tax and registration requirements apply to all short-term rentals, which are defined as:

An owner-occupied, tenant-occupied or non-owner occupied property including, but not limited to, an apartment, house, cottage, condominium or a furnished accommodation that is not a hotel, motel, lodging house or bed and breakfast establishment, where: (i) at least 1 room or unit is rented to an occupant or sub-occupant; and (ii) all accommodations are reserved in advance; provided, however, that a private owner-occupied property shall be considered a single unit if leased or rented as such.

Have questions about insurance for your short-terms rentals?   Call us today at 508-485-0130.

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