Talking short-term rentals with the Health Director.

In our last newsletter, we discussed how Nantucket lost over 600 year-round rentals from 2010 to 2018 – the same period during which Airbnb ballooned from 2,500 to millions of listings worldwide. A growing number of investors buying properties to turn them into short-term rentals has impacted our community, housing, infrastructure, and environment. But what about our Town resources?

We spoke with Nantucket’s Health Director, Roberto Santamaria, about his relationship with short-term rentals. While neighbors might call the police to complain of late parties, the Health Department receives calls from the renters themselves. Roberto says, “although this year has been quiet, we normally receive 3-5 calls from renters every week in the summertime.” They call to report problems with properties ranging from rodents, mold, lack of running or hot water, to broken appliances. He added that issues typically arise when owners or managers are not on the island to monitor properties.

The result? Numerous time-consuming site visits. There are times when Roberto’s team must contact the police to track down a property owner’s phone number.  

The Town licenses local hotels and inns, so there’s a system in place to easily communicate with each owner and manager. That’s not the case with short-term rentals. Going forward, it seems essential to have a way to share time-sensitive information, such as health and hygiene guidelines, or quarantine requirements for out-of-state travelers. 

Establishing local short-term rental resources, including a registry, would benefit our community, visitors, as well as the Town.

Enjoy your Sunday,

Julia Lindner
Executive Director

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