Maine Guide to Short-Term Rental Regulations

Disclaimer

Short-term rental regulations are in a constant state of change. The below resource is updated when possible, but it should not be taken as legal advice. It is critical that you consult with your local lawyer to ensure you are taking the necessary steps to keep your business safe and legal.

Introduction

The state of Maine requires that short-term rental operators, homeowners, or anyone who collects rents on behalf of the owner, for a business or even casually, must register for and collect a 7% Vacation (Casual) Rental Tax. The rental does not have to be advertised in order for this tax to apply. There are some exemptions:

  • Casual rentals for fewer than 15 nights in a year, this applies for owners who rent themselves. For any rent collected on by an agent (or on behalf of the owner), must collect and remit appropriate taxes, no matter the length of time the property is rented.
  • Occupancy for 28 days or more.
  • Airbnb will collect and remit sales tax on behalf of the owner in the amount of 9% of the listed rent amount and any applicable cleaning or booking fees.

Proposed legislation for short-term rentals in Maine

A new bill has recently been introduced in the state of Maine, which calls to prohibit towns and cities from banning short-term rentals. The introduction of this bill has sparked much debate. There is a concern with the rise of short-term rentals occupying a growing portion of available rental properties throughout the state.

This lack of available properties has driven rents higher and Maine is now considered one of the most expensive rental markets in the country. With the rising cost of living, listing a room or an investment property for rent has become a crucial income source for many owners across the state.

The new bill to restrict the banning of short term rentals was proposed to control municipalities from introducing overly restrictive bans on short-term rentals and to uphold the (personal) property rights of owners. The new bill was introduced in response to certain municipalities issuing full short-term rental bans in residential neighborhoods, causing a loss of income.

Cities in Maine with Short-Term Rental Regulations

Rockland

Rockland allows short-term rentals with the proper permits (Rockland Ordinance - Chp 19 - Section 3).

  • Only single-family, multi-family or mixed-use properties are permitted. Short-term rentals are not permitted in any other structure (trailer, tent, accessory dwelling unit, separate structure, etc.), without permission from the Rockland Zoning & Planning Commission.
  • Short-term rental application must be filed with the Rockland Code Enforcement office, one application per rental unit.
  • The application will require a fee of $100.00 to be paid per short term rental unit. Short-term rental map

Bar Harbor

Short-term rentals are permitted in single-family, double-family and certain apartment buildings with the proper registration. Owners and owner agents must submit information on every rental they own or manage, as well as allow for proper inspection through the city. Here is an overview

  • Short term rentals must be registered on an annual basis with the town of Bar Harbor.
  • In order to obtain a registration card, an application must be filed and fee paid with the town of Bar Harbor and the property will need to be inspected by the Fire Chief and Code Enforcement Officer.
  • The approved registration card must be posted in the short term rental property for guests to see.

Lewiston

The Lewiston Area Public Health Committee gathered an ad-hoc rental registration committee that has undergone the process of researching the creation of short-term rental regulations. The full recommended action plan was submitted and is still awaiting approval. Under the proposed regulations, the following applies (with approval):

  • Short term rental registration will be required with the town of Lewiston.
  • There will be a non-refundable fee involved, the amount is to be determined by Lewiston City Council.
  • Only multi-family and mixed-use properties will be permitted.
  • Applications must be submitted by July 1st of each year and renewed annually.
  • If there are any conflicting ordinances involving short-term rental regulation and existing ordinance, whichever ordinance is stricter will apply.
  • Rental units will be inspected in an organized or as-needed basis.

Portland

Short-term rentals are heavily regulated in the city of Portland. Owners and owner agents must submit detailed information on every rental they own or manage, as well as adhere to the local ordinance and zoning laws. Here is an overview:

  • Portland Short Term Rental Requirements Portland city inspectors will inspect the property for proper building code and fire safety compliance.
  • Portland reserves the right to inspect the property at any time and request rental history, transaction data as well as upcoming bookings at any time.
  • Operators and owners have 48 hours to reply to a request before a penalty will be issued.
  • Short-term rental operators must register yearly and pay a fee for every unit.
  • Renewals must be submitted by January 1st of every year.
  • Discounts are offered per unit with a maximum of $20.00 in discounts per unit. Maximum of 400 Non-Owner occupied (or “unhosted”) units are allowed to be registered in a year on the mainland.
  • Property owners may register up to 5 short-term rentals.
  • Cap of 5 living spaces can be rented in any one single owner-occupied property (this includes bedrooms and separate spaces).
  • Non-owner-occupied condominiums and single-family homes may not be rented short-term.
  • When registering an owner-occupied short term rental, only homes or apartments used as primary residences will be permitted.
  • Max of two guests per bedroom, with only one additional space allowed per short term rental that can be occupied by a max of two additional guests.
  • All short term rental advertisements must include the city-issued regulation permit registration number. Multi-unit buildings have their own limitations:

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