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Short-Term Rental Update

Updated: May 18, 2020

On April 28, the Department of Public Health released guidance for short-term rentals related to the extension from May 4 to May 18 of the March 31 emergency order requiring the closure of non-essential businesses.  The guidance clarifies certain uses as well as procedures for certification. Most notably: 

  • “Vulnerable populations” as used in number 3 below includes individuals and families who cannot safely return to another residence or are facing risk of homelessness if forced to vacate the short-term rental. The presence of COVID-19 in the community where the individual or family normally resides does not qualify them as members of a vulnerable population.

  • Realtors® should inform all prospective guests during this period of the limitations on lodgings and provide them with the list of allowable exceptions. However, the onus is on prospective occupants to self-certify that they fall within one of the allowable exceptions. Occupants are not required to identify the specific exception that applies to their situation and Realtors® do not need to independently verify occupants’ claims.

The extended emergency order permits rentals of 31-days or less until May 18 for only the following uses:

  1. Housing for health care workers, first responders and essential COVID-19 essential workers. 

  2. Housing for out-of-state workers engaged in transportation of materials, logistics, and construction associated with the delivery of health-related services, such as development of COVID-19 alternative care sites. 

  3. Housing for vulnerable populations (see below for more detail). 

  4. Housing for Massachusetts residents who are self-isolating or self-quarantining or the families or roommates of individuals who are self-isolating or self-quarantining for only as long as necessary to complete the period of self-isolation or self-quarantine. 

  5. Housing for individuals receiving long-term, specialized medical care from a physician located in Massachusetts and for accompanying family members. 

  6. Housing when required by extenuating circumstances such as fire or casualty to ensure the care and safety of Massachusetts residents and to accommodate other persons unable to return to their own homes due to flight cancellations, border closures, or other direct and material constraints on travel.

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