Gov. Chris Sununu did not say whether he would veto the short-term rental legislation. (Courtesy)
Lawmakers are considering a bill to bar towns from prohibiting short-term rentals, but Gov. Chris Sununu is not currently on board.
At a press conference Wednesday, Sununu expressed general opposition to the legislation, Senate Bill 249, which would prohibit municipalities from adopting ordinances that ban short-term rentals. The bill would allow towns and cities to create ordinances requiring short-term rental owners to register and submit their properties to safety inspections.
“I’m afraid of the long-term implications,” Sununu said. “And I also don’t like telling towns what they can and can’t do. If you’re going to believe in local control, then you believe in local control.”
Supporters of SB 249 say the bill is simply codifying what homeowners should be allowed to do already, arguing that the right to rent out one’s home is an inherent property right. And they say the legislation could bring the state clarity ahead of an expected Supreme Court decision over an attempted ban on a short-term rental in Conway.
The bill has attracted a number of opponents, including residents, New Hampshire mayors, and affordable housing advocates, who argue the bill will decrease the state’s housing stock by allowing more people to buy properties for use as short-term rentals or vacation homes.
Speaking Wednesday, Sununu did not explicitly say whether he would veto a bill, and left his mind open to being changed.
“I haven’t seen the final version of the bill; it might get changed in a committee of conference and all that,” Sununu said. “But right now, anything that bans the towns from having flexibility, that’s – you’re going down the wrong path.”
Even as he expresses opposition to legislation barring towns from banning short-term rentals, Sununu has criticized towns that do enact bans. At a press conference in April 2021, he called Conway’s decision to attempt to ban short-term rentals “problematic,” arguing that “we are a tourism state; we are a destination state,” according to the Conway Daily Sun.
“That being said, it’s a local decision,” Sununu added at the time.
The House Municipal and County Government Committee is set to vote on its recommendation for the bill on April 18.
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