Rental

MA Short Term Rental Tax

Massachusetts Governor Baker recently signed into law a change to the taxable nature of short term rentals.  This affects many of the property owners on Cape Cod who rent for less than 31 days in the summer months.  Some relevant information can be found on the Massachusetts Association of Realtors website here but a quick synopsis is as follows:

Highlights:

New Tax Changes:

  1. State: 5.7%
  2. Local: up to 6% (6.5 for Boston)
  3. Cape Cod & Islands: includes additional 2.75% to fund Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund 
  4. A community impact fee of up to 3% may be assessed locally on professionally managed properties (Owners of two or more units in one town)
  5. Takes effect July 1, 2019.  Bookings made before January 1st, 2019 are exempt.
  6. Realtors who manage the rental bookings and collect the rent will likely be responsible for collecting the tax.
  7. Guidance and more details will follow from the IRS and state authorities.

We'll be keeping a sharp eye on this matter and updating you when we learn more information.  As always feel free to contact us with questions about how this will impact your rentals or your property management needs.

Our Take - Cape Cod Summer Rentals 2019

Are sharks really taking a bite out of the Cape Cod summer rental market?

The Boston Globe published an article on July 28th 2019 by Stephanie EbbertCape Cod rentals are having an unexpectedly slow summer.  As a quick synopsis the article states that summer vacation rentals are not filling up this year and hotels are down 5% (the data goes through May 31st only).  The article posits several explanations including the new short-term rental tax, increasing shark populations around the Cape, lousy Spring weather, and larger market and economic trends.

Our take on this matter: sharks and overall market conditions have been gradually applying pressure on the rental market for years: the sharks were here last year and the year before and some anecdotal evidence suggests they may be an attraction for some tourists.  The main culprit of the precipitous decline in bookings in 2019 is the new 12.45-14.45% rental tax.  Given the evidence that rentals are down across the state indicates this is not an issue solely on Cape Cod.  When a vacationer rents for $3000/wk the tax adds around $400, depending on the town.  Couple this with what may be the indications of a slowing economy and people may be spending their money closer to home this year and waiting to see how much certainty the future holds for their pocketbooks.

If you are getting sick of renting but still want to visit the Cape, give us a call about buying.  Then every season can be beach season!

Ahhhh... Summer on Cape Cod Part 2

July, at last! Summer’s here and everyone has an opinion on how you should spend your time here on the Cape. So little time, so many things to choose from! Whatever you do, don’t miss out on these classics….

Water, water everywhere: If wheels and walks aren’t your jam, watercraft is also about as Cape Cod as it gets. While Cape Cod Bay, Nantucket Sound, and the National Seashore are the obvious bodies of water, the Cape also boasts a ton of freshwater ponds and the Bass River. Take in the scenery from a new angle in a kayak or pedal boat, or subtly show off your killer core strength and impressive balance on a stand-up paddleboard. Either way, being out on the water is its own form of relaxation and meditation, with the added perk of seeing all the native flora and fauna. Am I the only one who yells, “bird” every time I see a bird? I think not. The Pump House in Orleans, Cape Cod Waterways in Dennis, and Down Cape in Harwich provide a variety of rental craft and locales to explore! 

The big screen (literally): One of my favorite memories of vacationing on the Cape was going to the drive-in. It didn’t matter if I’d seen the movie before -- there’s something so novel about watching it outside, wrapped up in a cozy blanket, occasionally heckling the out-of-state SUV in front of you for opening their tailgate halfway through the film. From choosing the perfect spot to park, to setting up the beach chairs and forgetting just how long Jaws really is, the drive-in is a must-do when you’re here on the Cape. This year especially, it’s a perfect way to enjoy the Cape while keeping a safe distance!
The Wellfleet Drive-In has been around since the 50’s and is a Cape Cod landmark in its own right! It has nightly showings during the summer, changing weekly. If you’re in the Mid-Cape region, both Yarmouth and Hyannis have screenings as well: Yarmouth’s calendar starts July 12th, and Hyannis is operating on Fridays into August. 

I could keep going about all the ‘quintessential’ Cape things to do -- mini-golfing, bridge traffic, waiting two hours for a table on a Saturday night. But truly, the heart of Cape Cod is all the people who choose to come here to make memories, be it for a week, the season, or their whole lives. So however you decide to fill your time here this summer, remember to wash your hands, wear your mask in public, and give people space wherever you can. This is a special place to spend any amount of time, so thank you for helping us keep our wonderful community healthy and thriving!

Check in next week, when I break down which beaches are the best for soaking up all this gorgeous sunshine.