June 16, 2024


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New Hampshire House committee votes to shut the door on short-rental bill


Short Term Rental Photo

The NH House Municipal and County Federal government Committee on Monday voted to endorse sending to interim review a monthly bill to loosen localities’ limitations on limited-time period rental houses, primarily placing off any laws on the problem for this session. The advice to fundamentally place off any motion on the measure right up until it can be more studied handed by a vote of 17-2. The monthly bill experienced been handed by the full Senate in February on a voice vote.

Senate Monthly bill 249 would forbid municipalities from prohibiting or proscribing the use or of any single-family members or two-spouse and children building as a small-time period rental no matter of its locale.

As released, SB 249 would have also prohibited municipalities from regulating the use of trip and small-term rentals. Nevertheless, the Senate Commerce Committee amended the bill to authorize municipalities “to commonly control parking, noise, basic safety, overall health, sanitation, or other similar municipal ordinances” as effectively as to register and inspect these attributes and cost a fair rate for performing so.

Ahead of voting on the invoice, the committee adopted on an 18-1 vote an modification available by Rep. Karen Umberger, R-Kearsarge, to exempt the Kearsarge Lights Precinct, in which she resides, from the monthly bill.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Harold French, R-Franklin, was supported by the NH Association of Realtors jointly with assets proprietors giving quick-time period rentals. Opponents of the monthly bill incorporated the NH Municipal Association, metropolis and town officials, permanent and seasonal citizens and bed and breakfast operators.

‘Big meddling in nearby affairs’

Opponents of the monthly bill declare it signifies an unparalleled preemption of municipal zoning authority.

Margaret Byrnes, govt director of the Municipal Association, mentioned the bill preempts the zoning authority vested in municipalities by condition regulation and delivers small-time period rentals an exemption granted only to the tilling of soil and harvesting of crops.

In committee, this argument was echoed by Rep. Laurel Stavis, D-Lebanon, who known as the invoice “a huge meddling in regional affairs, and that is not a little something we do in New Hampshire.”

Rep. Latha Mangipudi, D-Nashua, stated, “My inbox was crammed with opposition to this bill.”

And Rep. Joseph Guthrie, R-Hampstead, expressed opposition to the principle of the monthly bill.

Previous week, Gov. Chris Sununu also expressed misgivings about the evaluate, saying he was “afraid of the lengthy-term implications” of it. “And I never like telling towns what they can and can not do. If you are likely to believe that in local command, then you imagine in regional command. And nearly anything that bans the towns from getting overall flexibility, that’s likely down the improper route.”

Two cities — Bedford and Seabrook — have prohibited limited-expression rentals and at minimum yet another 26 have restricted them, typically to particular zones or operator-occupied units and often equally.

Bob Quinn, CEO of the NH Realtors Affiliation, informed the committee “the principle we’re trying to secure is personal home rights” and recommended SB 249 expanded the authority of municipalities to control short-term rentals. Without the bill, he claimed, litigious home homeowners would prevail in the courts, stripping municipalities of that authority.

Courtroom scenarios

Brief-expression rentals have been the subject matter of two new court decisions — Town of Conway v. Scott Kudrick and Operating Rigid Associates v. Town of Portsmouth — which, while seemingly contradictory, suggest that command of small-time period rentals rests squarely with municipal zoning authority.

The town of Conway sought to prohibit Kudrick from giving 3 properties as small-expression rentals in a household zone, boasting the use is confined to proprietor-occupied models. The ordinance prescribes that if shorter-expression rental units meet up with the definition of a household dwelling unit by giving “complete and independent residing facilities” — most importantly kitchens — they need not be proprietor-occupied to work in household zones. “Transient lodging,” on the other hand, defined as residing quarters with no kitchens, need to be operator-occupied in all those zones.

Ruling in opposition to the city, Decide Amy Ignatius of Carroll County Top-quality Court docket observed that Kudrick’s models satisfied the ordinance’s definition of a household dwelling device and ended up intended to be employed for a household, not business, reason. She pressured that the definition will make no reference to the identification of the occupants or the length of their stay. Conway has appealed the selection to the NH Supreme Courtroom.

In 2019, the Supreme Court docket ruled in favor of the town of Portsmouth and against a restricted liability firm, whose homeowners sought to use the property adjacent to their major home in a residential zone for short expression rentals. In defining a residential dwelling unit, the Portsmouth ordinance expressly specifies, “This use shall not be considered to include these kinds of transient occupancies as motels, motels, rooming or boarding homes.”

Quinn proposed the Conway determination, significantly Ignatius’s locating that shorter-time period rentals represent a household not industrial use, has extensive application. However, the decide herself famous that “rulings normally count on the certain language of a municipality’s ordinance.”

The problem posed by small-expression rentals, she mentioned, “is a problem that cries out for legislative way, centered on statewide policies. Until this kind of a legislative coverage dedication is produced or right up until municipalities adopt new ordinances that evidently deal with this new sort of residential rental, the Courtroom will make choices centered on the language of the ordinances in effect, even if the effects fluctuate from 1 municipality to the upcoming.”


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