UPDATE – Article 90 Short-Term Rental Bylaw

ACK•Now remains dedicated to protecting our community and the ability for year-round residents to call Nantucket home by amending Article 90:

  • To preserve the freedom for year-round residents to rent their homes.
  • No limit on the number of days. No minimum stay.

Read the full amended motion here.


Here’s the story:

Like many other desirable communities around the world, Nantucket has faced decades of negative impacts from outside forces. The community has fought hard to create protections that preserve the Island’s beauty, culture, and history, such as the LandBank and the HDC. And we continue to fight to protect the Island and its fragile resources from being ruined by overdevelopment and the resulting fallout.

A tidal wave of money can destroy our community.

The latest tidal wave threatening Nantucket is the transformation of the local and traditional vacation rental market. Investors from across the country are looking to short-term rentals as the next business opportunity, and many are picking Nantucket as the ideal location to turn a profit. This investor trend impacts year-round housing, neighborhoods, the infrastructure, the environment, and is dramatically changing the Island’s culture and character.

“There is a VERY strong link between affordable housing and short-term rentals because we have one common pool of inventory and that is where can our residents and where can our visitors sleep. And when our visitors start to sleep where we intended our residents, that can create pressure.”

Brumby McLeod, Associate Professor, College of Charleston (ICWA Webinar, April 20, 2021).

Investor-owned short-term rentals have done substantial harm to the island over time by:

We are losing one year-round home every 5-1/2 days.
  • Eroding year-round housing stock. In the last 10 years, over 240 homes purchased for $1.25 million or less are now short-term rentals owned by off-island owners. Many studies show the link between STRs and housing issues. [Don’t believe this? Here’s the data.]
  • Driving home prices and rents up. [Here’s a study on the impacts of short-term rentals on communities nationwide.]
  • Disrupting neighborhoods. [Need proof? Talk to your friends in these neighborhoods: Town, Miacomet, Naushop, or check out this article in The Wall Street Journal.]
  • Harming the community’s character. [Learn how Arizona communities representing 65% of the state’s people are fighting to limit the impacts of STRs.]
  • Focusing on profits and extracting as much from the island as possible. [See what some of these properties are taking from the island economy here. Pay close attention to the cost per night and week.]
  • Driving development toward an island-wide luxury resort. Pool, cabana, and extra bedrooms and bathrooms for more income. Take a look at recent developments (Finback Lane, Grey Lady Lane) being built as rental parks. [Nantucket is transforming. Into this.]
  • Even affordable housing developments are undermined [like Beach Plum Village] by short-term rentals – the 40B created more STRs than year-round homes!
  • Straining natural resources and infrastructure. [The average STR accommodates nearly 3 times the average Nantucket household. The average capacity of a whole-house rental is nearly nine people and many accommodate 12 to 25 people or more.]
  • Sample communities with STR regulations – many vacation destinations:
    • ME – Freeport, Cape Elizabeth, Portland, South Portland.
    • MA – Boston, Salem, Lenox, Lynnfield, Springfield, Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville, Manchester.
    • Other New England – North Conway, Portsmouth, Burlington, Newport.
    • NY/NJ – Jersey City, NYC, Arlington, Southampton, East Hampton, Southold.
    • CA – Hermosa Beach, Lake Tahoe, Carmel, San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Monica, Monterey, Laguna Beach, Palm Springs.
    • CO – Telluride.
    • FL – Sanibel, Captiva, Daytona Beach, Key West.
    • HI – Kauai, Maui, Honolulu.
    • SC – Hilton Head, Charleston, Kiawah Island.
    • UT – Park City.
    • VA – Virginia Beach.
    • WA – San Juan Islands.

What this proposed bylaw does:

What the proposed bylaw is. And is not.
  • Curbs outside investor demand intensively occupied short-term rental businesses on Nantucket.
  • Preserves traditional rental opportunities for Nantucket’s year-round and seasonal residents.
  • Gives year-round residents a better chance at homeownership.
  • Offers neighbors a process to fight noise and disruption.
  • Helps preserve Nantucket’s character and culture.

How does this proposed bylaw work (with Amended Motion)?

  • Creates a local registry with emergency contact information.
  • Two types of short-term rental permits: resident permit and non-resident permit (best suited for seasonal residents).
  • Any stays of one month or more aren’t affected.
  • Resident permit is for year-round residents short-term renting their primary home (or part of). Protects year-round residents’ ability to short-term rent for a long weekend or weekly stays throughout the year. No maximum number of days, no minimum stay.
  • Non-resident permit entitles up to 45 days of short-term rentals per year (over 6 weekly rentals – with a one-week minimum stay) to offset costs without attracting more investors looking for huge profits.

What can you do?

Really, what is good for the economy?
  • Attend Nantucket’s Annual Town Meeting on June 5th, and support Article 90.
  • Votes will be electronic – no hand-raising!
  • Help by bringing information to your friends and family.
  • Write to your elected officials and the newspaper.
  • If you have a home to sell, consider selling to a year-round resident or a local housing nonprofit.
  • If you have a rental to offer, consider renting year-round.

Presentation: The impacts of investor-owned STRs

Fact sheet

Short-term rental white paper

Guide to proposed bylaw