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State Regulation

Maine, known for its picturesque landscapes, rugged coastline, and charming small towns, has become an increasingly popular destination for travelers seeking a blend of natural beauty and local culture. This surge in tourism has given rise to a growing market for short-term rentals, offering visitors a diverse range of accommodations. These rentals, found throughout the state from the rocky shores of Bar Harbor to the historic streets of Portland, provide an intimate experience of Maine's unique offerings. They cater not only to those seeking a seaside retreat but also to those who wish to explore the state's rich history, indulge in its famed seafood, and engage with its vibrant arts scene. However, the rise of short-term rentals has also prompted discussions about their impact on local communities, housing markets, and regulatory frameworks. As such, Maine presents a dynamic case study of the benefits and challenges posed by the short-term rental industry in a region deeply rooted in both tradition and natural splendor.

Is there a statewide definition of STR?

In Maine, a short-term rental is defined as a residential dwelling unit rented wholly or partially to no more than four transient guests for a period of less than 30 days. This definition is outlined by the Maine State Legislature. It's important to note that while the state has this definition, specific regulations and requirements can vary significantly across different municipalities.

statewide registration requirement
Statewide Registration Requirement

The regulation of short-term rentals (STRs) largely varies depending on the local municipality, as there is no uniform statewide regulation specifically for Airbnb or other STR platforms. This means that the rules and requirements can differ significantly from one city or town to another.

At the state level, all STR operators in Maine are required to collect and remit taxes on their rentals. This includes a 9% sales tax on rental fees, which is a standard requirement across the state. Additionally, hosts must also comply with the Maine state income tax on the profits they earn from their rentals. Some localities may also impose their own taxes, such as local sales taxes or lodging taxes, which can range from 1-5% in popular tourist areas.

When it comes to the specifics of operating an STR, hosts must pay close attention to local ordinances, which can cover a range of aspects from permitting and licensing requirements to building codes, safety standards, occupancy limits, and even parking regulations. For example, in Portland, the city categorizes STRs into different types and requires annual registration renewals. The city of Bar Harbor, situated near Acadia National Park, mandates a rigorous registration and inspection process for all short-term rentals. These local regulations are often designed to balance the economic benefits of tourism with the quality of life for residents.

What is the length of stay of STR in the state?

Short-term rentals are defined as rentals of living quarters for less than 30 consecutive days at a time. This definition is generally consistent across the state, covering typical vacation rental stays that range from a few nights to several weeks.

Statewide Tax Requirement

In Maine, operators of short-term rentals are required to register with the Maine Revenue Service and collect a 9% state sales tax on their listings. This tax applies to the total listing price, including any cleaning and guest fees, and is relevant for both casual rentals (fewer than 15 nights a year) and longer-term rentals (28 days or longer). Notably, platforms like Airbnb collect and remit this tax on behalf of their hosts for relevant listings.

It's important to note that while there are no additional state-level laws or regulations specific to Airbnb or other vacation rentals, local regulations can vary significantly, especially in popular tourist destinations like Portland, Bar Harbor, and Rockland. These localities may have specific requirements for permits, registrations, safety inspections, and adherence to zoning laws. Each city or town can have different definitions and categories for short-term rentals, and compliance with these local regulations is crucial for legal operation.

Access the latest compliance requirement for your local jurisdictions below
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Lodge compliance is not a licensed tax or financial advisor. Therefore nothing in the above article should be construed as tax, legal, or financial advice. Contact your local tax office for information regarding your personal circumstance.

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