Short-term Rental Articles FAQs
Town Meeting: Process
- What are the benefits if only the General Bylaw passes at Town Meeting?
If the General Bylaw passes, a beneficial balance will be established between allowing existing STRs to continue and moderating future growth.
Some key points: All existing STRs will be protected. Corporate ownership of new STRs will be banned. For new STRs there will be a limit of one per person and a maximum of four changes of occupancy will be allowed in high season (July and August).
- What are the additional benefits if the Zoning Bylaw also passes at Town Meeting?
If the Zoning Bylaw also passes, the legality of STRs on Nantucket (which is already recognized and accepted by the Town) will be further confirmed, and lawsuits against STR owners will be ended.
Note: The Two Articles are now linked “in both directions.” That means both must pass in order for either to go into effect.
Town Meeting: Articles
What are the main features of the proposed General Bylaw (Article 1)?
- What voting total (in percent) does a general bylaw need to pass?
A general bylaw needs a majority vote (50% or greater) in order to pass.
- I’ve heard that the General Bylaw features a “pre-existing nonconforming” protection clause for current homeowners. What properties and/or STRs are protected?
A property with a structure will be protected for the purposes of STR renting if the owner can submit proof that the structure has been issued a certificate of occupancy prior to November 7, 2023. After that date, a property that is sold is no longer protected, and new structures after that date are not protected.
- If my property is protected as an STR, what does that mean about how I can rent it?
The status of being protected confers the following:
- as many as 9 changes of occupancy in high season (July and August)
- an owner may operate multiple STRs if all the properties are protected
- a corporation may continue to operate an STR if that property is protected
- If my property is NOT protected as an STR, what does that mean about how I can rent it?
- as many as 4 changes of occupancy in high season (July and August)
- an owner may operate no more than one STR per owner
- no corporations may operate an STR
- I’ve heard that there are limits on the number of contracts allowed by the proposed General Bylaw. Can you tell me what those limits are?
See above for the limits on contracts during high season (July and August). There are no limits on the number of contracts allowed outside of high season, whether or not the STR is protected.
- If I have a protected STR property and I sell it, how does that affect its availability to the next owner as an STR?
A property that is sold can then only have 4 changes of occupancy in high season (July and August). And the owner can only operate one STR.
- What properties are not covered or affected by the General Bylaws?
Hosted Stays and Cottage Colonies are not affected by the General Bylaw. They can operate as before, without limits on changes of occupancy, etc.
- How many properties can I rent as an STR—if my properties are protected, and if they are not protected?
As mentioned above, if all your STR properties are protected, you may continue to operate them all as STRs. If they are not protected, only one STR is allowed per owner.
- Can Corporations own and operate an STR?
Only if the STR property qualifies to be protected. Moving forward, corporations are not allowed to operate new STRs.
- I see the term “natural person” mentioned in your General Bylaw. What does that mean?
A “natural person” is a legal term that simply means a real human being.
- Can a property owned by an LLC or Trust, or S-Corp operate an STR?
Yes, but only when every shareholder, partner, or member of the legal entity is a natural person, as established by documentation provided by the applicant at the time of registration.
- Are STRs allowed in a Deed-Restricted unit or an apartment or townhouse?
STRs may not be operated in any Deed-Restricted unit or in an unrestricted unit in an Apartment Building or Townhouse owned, operated and managed as rental housing unless they meet the requirements for protection.
What are the main features of the proposed Zoning Bylaw (Article 2)?
- What does “primary zoning” mean?
Primary zoning means that the use is a legal, primary use. Article 2 would establish STRs as a primary use—but only if the STR obeys all the regulations set forth in Article 1.
- What voting total (in percent) does a zoning bylaw need to pass?
A zoning bylaw needs a super-majority vote (2/3 or greater) in order to pass.
- If the zoning bylaw is passed, does that mean that untrammeled STRs will be allowed in every corner of the island?
No. Only STRs that obey all the regulations set forth in Article 1 will be allowed. And if either Article 1 or Article 2 does not pass, neither Article will go into effect.
- What are the differences between the Select Board-approved Warrant and the Finance Committee-approved Warrant?
- What is the process for reverting to the Select-Board version of the Warrant and/or Articles?
- If Article 2 does not pass, will the Town of Nantucket be liable for legal fees associated with legal challenges to the Town’s approval of certain STRs by neighbors of these STRs?
- Explain “Hosted Stays” and “Cottage Colonies.”
- Is there an estimate of the cost of enforcing the regulations in Article 1?
- How will enforcement of the provisions of Article 1 be funded?
- Are there exceptions to the regulations in Article 1 for hardship/unusual situations?