The town of Hull has ordered a Newton woman to stop weekly rentals of three houses she owns in the scenic Kenberma area of town, and fined her $1,000 and counting, in the latest instance of officials enforcing a rule against short-term vacation rentals.
The town officials say local zoning outlaws rentals of less than 30 days in residential neighborhoods, an interpretation being challenged in Land Court by two other homeowners who were ordered last year to stop renting their properties. A proposal to change the zoning bylaws to explicitly allow short-term rentals failed at the spring Town Meeting.
The policy has polarized the small peninsula town, with some defending a decades-old tradition of homeowners using rentals to supplement their income and others saying the practice is creating problems with noise, traffic, and trash.
Meanwhile, the local Building Department is not actively enforcing the rule but “responding to complaints,” according to inspector Bartley Kelly.
“We could spend all summer chasing summer rentals, [but] if nobody complains, it’s not an issue, so far,” Kelly said. “If a neighbor complains, we’ll go down and investigate and go from there.”
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