Old Saybrook, Connecticut Short-Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Old Saybrook, Connecticut

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Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in Old Saybrook

Old Saybrook, Connecticut has specific regulations regarding short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. According to the Town of Old Saybrook's Rental Housing Standards, the maximum occupancy of any dwelling unit is limited. For the first occupant, there must be at least 150 square feet of floor space, and an additional 100 square feet for each occupant thereafter. The total number of occupants must also be less than twice the number of habitable rooms in the unit.

Additionally, accessory apartments and single-family dwellings are not permitted to be rented for durations of 30 days or less in Old Saybrook. The town's zoning regulations also specify standards for things like plot plans, architectural plans, accessory uses, and more that short-term rental operators need to be aware of.

Properties used as short-term rentals in Old Saybrook must be in good standing with all other town ordinances and regulations, including the zoning regulations. There have been discussions on Reddit about the impact of short-term rentals in Connecticut, with some expressing concerns about LLCs buying up residential housing to list on Airbnb and VRBO, making housing less affordable.

To operate a short-term rental on a property with only a single-family home or in a single-family district, the property owner must host the rental themselves. Overall, it's critical for anyone considering starting a short-term rental business in Old Saybrook to carefully review the relevant town ordinances, zoning codes, and state regulations to ensure they are in full compliance.

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Old Saybrook

Based on the information available, there does not appear to be a specific short-term rental licensing requirement in Old Saybrook, Connecticut at this time. The town's zoning regulations prohibit renting accessory apartments and single-family dwellings for periods of 30 days or less.

However, Old Saybrook does have a general rental housing licensing requirement. According to the town's Rental Housing Standards, all rooming houses must be licensed annually by the Board of Selectmen. The license application must include:

  • The name and address of the operator
  • The location of the rooming house
  • The number of rooming units
  • Other reasonable information required by the Board of Selectmen

Licenses must be conspicuously displayed in the rooming house. Operating a rooming house without a valid license is subject to a penalty of $100 per day for each violation.

While this licensing requirement does not appear to apply to short-term rentals like Airbnbs and VRBOs (since those are prohibited for stays under 30 days), anyone operating a rental property in Old Saybrook should be aware of the town's rental housing standards and licensing requirements to avoid potential penalties. Property owners should contact the Board of Selectmen for the most up-to-date information on submitting a rental housing license application and any associated fees.

Required Documents for Old Saybrook Short-Term Rentals

Based on the Old Saybrook zoning regulations and rental housing standards, the following documents may be required for short-term rentals, even though rentals under 30 days are generally prohibited in single-family dwellings and accessory apartments:

Plot Plan: A plot plan showing the location of the dwelling on the property, parking spaces, and other relevant details may be required. This helps ensure the rental complies with zoning requirements like setbacks and parking.

Architectural Plans: Detailed architectural plans of the rental dwelling may need to be submitted, especially if any modifications are made to accommodate the rental use. The plans must show the rental preserves the architectural integrity of the building.

Health District Approval: Approval from the Connecticut River Area Health District is required for the sewage disposal system serving the rental dwelling, whether existing or modified.

Fire Marshal Approval: The transient lodging occupancy must be approved by the Old Saybrook Fire Marshal to ensure it meets all fire safety requirements.

Rental Housing License: While not specifically required for short-term rentals, all rental housing in Old Saybrook, including rooming houses, must obtain an annual Rental Housing License from the Board of Selectmen. The license application requires details like the operator's name and address, the rooming house location, and number of units.

In summary, while short-term rentals under 30 days are restricted, Old Saybrook property owners looking to offer longer-term rentals should be prepared to submit plot plans, architectural plans, health and fire marshal approvals, and obtain a rental housing license to ensure compliance with local regulations. The exact requirements should be confirmed with the Old Saybrook Zoning Commission and Board of Selectmen.

Old Saybrook Short-Term Rental Taxes

Short-term rentals in Old Saybrook, Connecticut are subject to a state room occupancy tax of 15% on the total payment received for occupancy of the room(s) for up to 30 consecutive calendar days. This tax applies to rentals of all or a portion of a home and includes charges for services, accommodations, and other amenities provided by the owner or operator.

However, the room occupancy tax does not apply in the following situations:

  1. Rental contracts for a period of at least 90 consecutive calendar days. Continued tenancy by the same renter after the term of such a contract expires is also not subject to the tax.
  2. Rentals to a business that enters into a contract to keep a home on a long-term basis (90+ days) for use by its personnel.
  3. Rentals where the owner or operator does not provide any services, accommodations, or amenities with the occupancy, regardless of the rental term length.

Starting on the 31st consecutive day of occupancy by the same person, the room occupancy tax no longer applies.

It's important to note that while Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms may automatically collect and remit occupancy taxes on behalf of hosts, they may not account for the 30-day tax exemption in Connecticut. Hosts renting to the same guest for longer than 30 days should ensure they are not being charged excess taxes.

As for potential write-offs or deductions, short-term rental operators in Old Saybrook may be able to deduct certain expenses on their taxes, such as:

  1. Mortgage interest
  2. Property taxes
  3. Rental insurance
  4. Utilities
  5. Cleaning and maintenance costs
  6. Depreciation on the rental property

Hosts should consult with a tax professional to determine which deductions apply to their specific situation and keep detailed records of all rental income and expenses. Overall, it's critical for short-term rental operators in Old Saybrook to understand and comply with all applicable state and local tax laws.

Connecticut Wide Short-Term Rental Rules

While there is no comprehensive statewide legislation for short-term rentals in Connecticut as of 2024, Old Saybrook hosts must comply with the Connecticut room occupancy tax. This tax applies to rentals of 30 days or less and is set at 15% of the total payment received for the occupancy of the room(s).

In addition to the state room occupancy tax, Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill (Bill 335) that would give municipalities more authority to regulate short-term rentals. If passed, this bill would allow cities and towns to establish ordinances governing short-term rental properties, such as zoning restrictions, guest occupancy limits, and parking requirements.

The proposed legislation comes in response to complaints from residents in various Connecticut communities about noise, parking, and other issues caused by short-term rental guests. While the bill would not require municipalities to take action, it would provide a framework for those wishing to regulate the growing short-term rental industry.

It's important for Old Saybrook hosts to stay informed about any potential changes to state laws and regulations that may affect their short-term rental business. As the legislative landscape evolves, hosts should also remain vigilant about complying with local ordinances and zoning requirements in Old Saybrook, as these can vary significantly from one municipality to another.

Some common requirements for short-term rental operators in Connecticut include obtaining zoning permits, adhering to specific rules regarding the frequency and length of rentals, occupancy restrictions, and safety requirements. Failure to comply with state and local regulations can result in fines and other penalties.

In summary, while there is currently no comprehensive statewide legislation for short-term rentals in Connecticut, Old Saybrook hosts must collect and remit the state's 15% room occupancy tax for stays of 30 days or less. As the state considers granting more regulatory authority to municipalities, hosts should closely monitor any changes at both the state and local levels to ensure compliance and protect their short-term rental business.

Does Old Saybrook Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions in online real estate investing communities like BiggerPockets and Reddit, it appears that Old Saybrook is not particularly Airbnb-friendly compared to some other cities and towns in Connecticut. The town's zoning regulations prohibit renting accessory apartments and single-family dwellings for periods of 30 days or less, which significantly limits the ability to operate short-term rentals.

While some hosts may attempt to operate under the radar, Old Saybrook seems to take its STR rules seriously. One BiggerPockets user mentioned they were under contract for their first STR property in Old Saybrook, suggesting they had carefully reviewed the regulations before proceeding with the purchase.

Compared to larger cities or more tourist-heavy areas, Old Saybrook likely has an easier time monitoring and enforcing its short-term rental restrictions. The town's smaller size and residential character mean that STRs operating illegally would stand out more readily.

Additionally, the fact that Old Saybrook requires all rental housing to be licensed annually, including details like the operator's name, address, and number of units, gives the town a mechanism to track and regulate rental properties. Failure to comply with the licensing requirement carries a penalty of $100 per day, indicating the town's willingness to enforce its rules.

In conclusion, Old Saybrook does not appear to be particularly Airbnb-friendly, with zoning regulations that restrict short-term rentals under 30 days in key property types. The town seems to take enforcement seriously, making it riskier for hosts to operate STRs outside of the rules compared to some other markets. Prospective short-term rental operators in Old Saybrook should carefully review all applicable regulations and be prepared to comply fully.

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in Old Saybrook

Starting a short-term rental business in Old Saybrook, Connecticut requires careful planning and compliance with local regulations. Follow these steps to get started:

Understand the regulations: Review Old Saybrook's zoning regulations and rental housing standards. Be aware that accessory apartments and single-family dwellings cannot be rented for periods of 30 days or less in Old Saybrook. Familiarize yourself with the state's 15% room occupancy tax for rentals under 30 days.

Choose a property: Select a property that complies with Old Saybrook's zoning requirements and is well-suited for short-term rentals. Consider factors like location, size, amenities, and parking. If you plan to rent out a portion of your primary residence, ensure it meets the town's requirements for accessory apartments.

Obtain necessary permits and licenses: While there is no specific short-term rental permit in Old Saybrook, you may need to obtain other permits and licenses. For example, if you plan to make modifications to accommodate the rental use, you'll need to submit architectural plans and get approval from the health district and fire marshal.

Prepare the property: Make any necessary repairs, upgrades, and decorations to make your property attractive and comfortable for guests. Ensure the property meets all safety requirements and is properly furnished.

Set up your business: Choose a business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC) and register your business with the state. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for tax purposes.

Create a listing: Take high-quality photos of your property and create a detailed, engaging listing on popular short-term rental platforms like Airbnb or VRBO. Be transparent about your property's features, amenities, and any rules or restrictions.

Establish policies and procedures: Develop clear policies for booking, check-in/check-out, cleaning, and guest behavior. Create a thorough rental agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the rental.

Manage your bookings and guests: Respond promptly to inquiries and booking requests. Communicate clearly with guests about check-in instructions, house rules, and local recommendations. Be available to address any issues that may arise during their stay.

Comply with tax requirements: Collect and remit the 15% Connecticut room occupancy tax for rentals under 30 days. Keep accurate records of your rental income and expenses for tax purposes.

Stay informed: Monitor any changes to Old Saybrook's regulations and Connecticut's short-term rental laws. Stay connected with other local short-term rental operators and industry associations to stay informed about best practices and new developments.

By following these steps and remaining compliant with local regulations, you can successfully start and operate a short-term rental business in Old Saybrook. Remember to prioritize guest satisfaction, maintain a high-quality property, and adapt to any changes in the regulatory landscape.

Who to Contact in Old Saybrook about Short-Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

If you have questions about short-term rental regulations and zoning in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, here are some key contacts and resources:

  1. Old Saybrook Zoning Commission: The Zoning Commission is responsible for regulating land uses and enforcing zoning regulations in Old Saybrook. You can reach the Zoning Commission at (860) 395-3131 or visit their office at Old Saybrook Town Hall, 302 Main Street, Old Saybrook, CT 06475.
  2. Old Saybrook Building Department: For questions about building permits, inspections, and code compliance, contact the Building Department at (860) 395-3130. They are located at Old Saybrook Town Hall, 302 Main Street, Old Saybrook, CT 06475.
  3. Old Saybrook Fire Marshal: The Fire Marshal's office can provide information on fire safety requirements for short-term rentals. Contact Fire Marshal Peter Terenzi at (860) 395-3133 or visit the office at 302 Main Street, Old Saybrook, CT 06475.
  4. Connecticut River Area Health District: For health and sanitation requirements, contact the Connecticut River Area Health District at (860) 661-3300. Their office is located at 455 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, CT 06475.

In addition to these official contacts, Old Saybrook short-term rental hosts may find the following online communities and resources helpful:

  1. BiggerPockets Forums - Short-Term & Vacation Rental Discussions: This forum has discussions and advice from real estate investors and short-term rental operators across the country.
  2. City-Data Forum - Connecticut: This forum has threads discussing real estate investing, rentals, and local issues in various Connecticut towns, including Old Saybrook and nearby communities.
  3. Airbnb Community Center: Airbnb hosts can connect with each other, ask questions, and find resources through the Airbnb Community Center.
  4. VRBO Community Forum: VRBO hosts can access forums, articles, and tools through the VRBO Community Hub.

By reaching out to local officials and connecting with other short-term rental operators online, you can get the information and support you need to successfully navigate short-term rental regulations in Old Saybrook.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Old Saybrook on Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think about Local Regulations?

While there are no specific discussions from Airbnb hosts in Old Saybrook about the town's short-term rental regulations on Reddit or BiggerPockets, there are some general insights about the short-term rental landscape in Connecticut:

Reddit - r/Connecticut: In a thread discussing a Connecticut bill to increase housing near public transit, some users expressed concerns about the impact of short-term rentals on housing affordability. One commenter mentioned that "billionaires buy all the houses and they won't rent them," suggesting a perception that corporate ownership of short-term rentals is contributing to housing shortages.

Reddit - r/Connecticut: Another thread about where to live in Connecticut as a single person making $60,000 a year highlighted the challenges of finding affordable housing in the state. While not directly related to short-term rentals, the discussion underscores the tight housing market that may be exacerbated by the growth of Airbnb and other platforms.

Reddit - r/Connecticut: In a post about the condition of housing in Connecticut, a user mentioned they were under contract for an old house in Orange, CT, and felt lucky to find a property that met their standards. This suggests that the housing stock in some parts of the state may be aging and in need of updates, which could impact the quality of short-term rental properties.

While these discussions don't provide direct insights from Old Saybrook hosts about local regulations, they highlight some of the broader concerns and challenges related to short-term rentals and housing in Connecticut. As the short-term rental industry continues to grow, it's likely that more specific discussions about regulations in Old Saybrook and other Connecticut towns will emerge on forums like Reddit and BiggerPockets.

Disclaimer: While we here at BNBCalc strive to keep all of our city regulation guides updated and accurate with all the latest local laws, we still do not suggest using them as your sole or primary source for local regulations. We also do not recommend you rely on the third-party sources we link to or reference, and we are not responsible for any of the information on these third-party sites. These guides are for entertainment purposes only and only provide basic information and should not be considered as legal advice.

We highly recommend directly contacting the responsible parties for each city and hearing what their officials have to say. Ultimately, it's your responsibility as an investor to ensure you fully comply with the local laws, and it's best to speak with professionals before making an investment decision.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.