Friday, February 25, 2011

Should Registration Be Required for Rental Property?

How very many people dream of living in Wellfleet and walking a beach like this one whenever possible! A great number manage to fulfill this dream and buy property here. But often, when they have homes elsewhere, these folks do not spend as much time as anticipated on Cape Cod. So, with mortgage payments looming, the idea of rental in summer becomes incredibly attractive. My parents rented their cottage for years. It was built to receive my family, but the extra income took precedence after a couple years. Sven and I now book that same cottage as part of our B&B. In order to run the bed-and-breakfast, we are obliged to buy insurance, which costs a pretty penny, and obtain a business permit. In the past few years a number of potential customers have decided to rent instead of staying with us because a weekly rental is often cheaper than a bed-and-breakfast stay. Property owners do not have to pay the same insurance as innkeepers. Property owners also do not need business permits.

Every few years the Selectmen propose a bylaw that would create a revenue stream from rentals. Yes, rental property registration is again on the table. I am in favor of this measure. The kicker this time is that property owners would not be forced to register their seasonal rentals but if they do not register, and pay the town a fee, their tenants will not be able to buy passes for the town beaches. To learn more, read Marilyn Miller's article in the Cape Codder.

What do you think? Should rental property be registered by the town? Should property owners be required to have a permit? If the Selectmen follow through with this method of raising revenue, will property owners raise the rent?