Preparing for the onslaught

Vacation rental properties in Newport can begin hosting guests beginning on May 23, but first, each owner is required to submit a safety precautions operations plan and receive approval of that plan from the city of Newport.

At Monday's (May 18) Newport City Council meeting, the city manager stated that enforcement of short-term rentals that reopen without that approval would rely on complaints from residents. The only way residents would know if a rental was approved is if the city provides that information to the public.

I anticipate my neighborhood, which is 30 percent short-term rentals, will experience some violations this coming Memorial Day weekend. To avoid filing erroneous complaints, I'm hoping the city can post the list of approved properties by Friday. I plan to share the list with my neighbors.

I have questions for the city manager:

  • Does the city have a process regarding how investigations of resident complaints will be handled, including the fees for fines and/or revocation of business licenses?
  • What are the consequences for the property owners found to be operating without approval to reopen? A fine? A temporary shutdown? The loss of their business license? Nothing more than a warning?
  • If property owners are issued only a warning, which would be in keeping with the city's current policy regarding enforcement, will the owner be allowed to continue operating until they do receive approval? Will their guests be allowed to stay until their reservation time ends? Or will the guests be asked to leave immediately? If so, will the officer remain until the guests leave? If not, will officer return to verify the guests have left?

I ask because I don't want to waste my time documenting violations and submitting complaints if there will be no enforcement beyond warnings.

Carla Perry



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