Barrington council calls for rental property registry

Idea stems from residents' concern about nearby rentals

By Josh Bickford
Posted 11/15/19

The large home on Lorraine Street overlooks Barrington Beach and offers 14 guest rooms. It has a sprawling front porch, a patio and a heated pool that are perfect for entertaining.

The home is …

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Barrington council calls for rental property registry

Idea stems from residents' concern about nearby rentals

Posted

The large home on Lorraine Street overlooks Barrington Beach and offers 14 guest rooms. It has a sprawling front porch, a patio and a heated pool that are perfect for entertaining.

The home is available for rent, and just last month hosted a group of more than 50 people. So big was the crowd, in fact, that the renters requested (and received) permission from the town to have guests park their cars at the town beach.

The get-together yielded at least one call to the police department, as someone living in the area said people at the home were disrupting the normal quiet that evening. 

For years, the police department has had no specific information about which properties in town are used for short-term rentals, but on Nov. 4, members of the Barrington Town Council voted to change that. 

In a 5-0 vote, the council called for the creation of a short-term rental registry in Barrington — anyone who uses their property for short-term rentals, including on AirBnB, will now be required to fill out an application at the town hall.

The council began discussing short-term rentals during its September meeting, when a husband and wife who live on Leslie Avenue asked the council for some assistance. The residents said they lived near some homes that were regularly rented out by large groups of un-related people. The husband and wife have called the police to file noise complaints, and said the situation has grown so bad that they often tried to avoid being at their home during the summer months.

At the September meeting, some councilors appeared apprehensive about drafting a specific ordinance geared toward short-term rentals. Instead, town officials asked Barrington Police Chief Dino DeCrescenzo to research the issue and find out if the department had fielded complaints to many of the town's short-term rental properties. 

At the Nov. 4 meeting, Chief DeCrescenzo said it was very difficult to create a complete list of which local homes are used for short-term rentals. 

Eventually, the police department began searching websites that list rental properties in Barrington. They found about 25 homes, but the chief was not sure whether there may be other properties that they failed to find on the sites they searched. 

Chief DeCrescenzo also said that he believes short-term rental homes can change the dynamic of a neighborhood. That's a point shared by some residents who said they did not know who was renting the homes from one week to the next.

The chief said that if the town had a registry of short-term rentals, his department could then study the issue and see if there are more complaints filed for those homes. 

Council member Kate Weymouth thanked the chief for his report and suggested that the council at least consider creating a registry. 

Council member Joy Hearn said she believed that short-term rentals already had to register with the state because they are taxed by the state. She also reminded the council that the economic development commission has already recommended that the council not take any action regarding short-term rentals. 

Peter Skwirz, the town's solicitor, said there are certain ordinances that restrict the number of unrelated people living together in a home. 

Later, Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha said that collecting application for a rental property registry and building a spreadsheet with that information should not be too difficult.

Mr. Carroll made a motion to establish the registry, Ms. Weymouth seconded it, and the motion passed 5-0. 

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