FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2022
City of Kingston Announces Short Term Rental Enforcement and Registration Process
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Steven T. Noble is pleased to announce that the City of Kingston has increased enforcement of the new short term rental regulations adopted by the Kingston Common Council.
The Common Council passed Resolution 85 of 2021 which amended the definition of “Hotel” in the City of Kingston’s zoning code to include short-term rentals (STRs) so that the definition aligns with the Ulster County definition of “Hotel” which includes STRs. The Ulster County Definition of Hotel allows for the collection of the Ulster County Hotel & Motel Room Occupancy Tax. The City of Kingston is now enforcing the new short-term rental regulations. All short-term rental hosts must comply with this registration process.
“Short term rentals have grown in popularity, which has contributed to a decrease in available rental properties and in turn contributed to a sharp rise in housing rental prices,” said Mayor Noble. “With these new regulations, we are looking to strike a balance that will support our local tenants and still leave room for the right amount of short term rental units in the appropriate areas. We expect these current regulations will serve as a placeholder until our forthcoming zoning code is updated.”
The City's current zoning statute only allows short-term rentals in the C-1, C-2, C-3, O-3, RF-R, and RF-H zoning districts. To legally operate a short-term rental in an allowable zone, all hosts must be registered and up to date on payments to the Ulster County’s Hotel & Motel Room Occupancy Tax and must register with the City of Kingston Building Safety Department to obtain an operating license and obtain a special permit from the Planning Board. Hosts who registered their STR with Ulster County prior to July 15, 2021, and are up to date on payments for the Occupancy Tax are exempt from needing this special permit from the Planning Board.
“If you have a short-term rental in one of the allowed zoning districts and have been paying Ulster County’s Occupancy Tax prior to July 15, 2021, you will also need to register with the City of Kingston’s Building Safety Department to obtain an operating license and pay applicable licensing fees per the City of Kingston Fee Schedule,” said Stephan Knox, Director of Building Safety & Zoning Enforcement. “One of our inspectors will then conduct an inspection of your short-term rental property before a license of operation will be granted.”
“The legislation enacted has been a direct response to residents’ concerns over housing affordability and the impact short-term rentals are having on their communities,” said Majority Leader Rita Worthington. “These regulations will, I believe, help to strike the delicate balance of allowing short-term rentals in ways that keep both renters and property owners alike in mind.”
“Short term rentals, once considered an economic engine in the City of Kingston, have proliferated at an alarming rate as Kingston’s popularity as a tourist destination exploded,” said Alderwoman Michele Hirsch. “I have always been committed to getting this legislation introduced and passed. It is vital that we preserve our housing stock while making every effort to return home prices to an affordable level. It is gratifying to see the City implement enforcement and know that homes with a for-sale sign in front yards throughout Ward Nine and Kingston will soon house families instead of operating as de facto hotels.”
Resolution 216 of 2021 set rates in the City Fee Schedule for annual hotel fees as follows:
- 1-3 Units, Base Fee $75.00, per unit fee $50.00
- 4-9 Units, Base Fee $150.00, per unit fee $50.00
- 10-20 Units, Base Fee $250.00, per unit fee $45.00
- More than 20 Units, Base Fee $400.00, per unit fee $40.00
To establish a new short term rental operation, the building must be located in one of the allowed zoning districts. Building owners will need a special permit issued by the Planning Board in accordance with § 405-32 of the City’s zoning code, and upon receipt of this special permit, owners can then register to pay the Room Occupancy Tax with Ulster County and register and obtain a license with the City of Kingston’s Building Safety Department.
Properties that are not currently zoned for short-term rentals would require an application for a variance from the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals to continue or establish a Short Term Rental operation. To determine if a property is in a designated hotel district (C-1, C-2, C-3, O-3, RF-R, and RF-H), view the City of Kingston’s current zoning map here. For more assistance determining if an address is within one of these districts, please contact the City’s Building Safety Department or reference this short-term rental fact sheet.
Find the short term rental forms here.
Rules and regulations for short-term rentals are subject to change once a new city-wide form-based code is adopted. To learn more and to participate in the rezoning process, visit: https://engagekingston.com/kingston-forward.
Summer Smith, Director
Communications & Community Engagement
City of Kingston
City Hall, 420 Broadway
Kingston, NY 12401
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