The Town Council of the Town of Portsmouth adopted Ordinance No. 2018-04-09, Short-Term Rental of Residential Dwellings on April 9, 2018.  So what does this mean if you own property and you rent OR if you are the neighbor of someone who rents property as short-term rentals?

For STR Owner Information Click Here

For Neighbor of STR Information Click Here


If you live near a property rented as a short-term rental, there may come a time when you believe the rental is not in compliance with Town laws.  What recourse do you have?

For all emergency problems, always call 9-1-1!

For non-emergency problems related to short-term rental (STR) properties, the Town has contracted with company Host Compliance to provide a 24/7 staffed telephone hotline and online complaint portal!

  • Report incidents by phone:  Hotline Number(401) 336-5552
  • Report incidents online:
    Complaint Portal Link:
  • Provide full documentation of all incidents
  • Include photos, video footage and sound recordings to document your complaint
  • Host Compliance assures real-time outreach to owners of problem properties (whenever the owner's contact info is known)

OWNER'S OBLIGATIONS:  If You Lease or Rent Property as a Short-Term Rental (STR)

First Steps to Take if You Own a Dwelling Unit You Plan to Rent or Lease for a Period of Less Than 31 Consecutive Days:

  1. If you own residential property and you rent or lease the entire property to a tenant for any period of time less than 31 consecutive days (a "Short-Term Rental"), you must register the property with the Portsmouth Town Clerk BEFORE any tenant occupies the premises.
  2. The registration fee for each Short-Term Rental dwelling unit is $130, which includes the inspection fee (see #4).
  3. The registration form is online. If you do not have access to a computer, come in to the Town Clerk's office at Town Hall and use the kiosk to go to our online STR registration form provider, Viewpoint, at  Registration forms are valid January 1 to December 31 of the same year no matter when you register during the year.
  4. Once registered, the premises are subject to inspection by the Building Official (or designee) and the Fire Marshal (see criteria they look for in the ordinance).  You are responsible for calling the Building Official (401-683-3611) and the Fire Marshal (401-683-1200) to set the appointments for inspection.  You must get your property inspected before you may rent your property.
  5. Once the inspections are completed and are satisfactory, the Building Official (or designee) will issue a short-term rental permit stating maximum occupancy* for the unit, which you must abide by.
  6. Your completed registration form remains on file with the Police and Fire Departments.

Maximum Occupancy at Your Short-Term Rental

*Maximum occupancy is 2 persons per bedroom.  A "person" is an individual at least 12 years old.  The number of bedrooms in a home cannot exceed the number of bedrooms supported by the property's septic system (or OWTS) design. 

Parking Spaces Required for Short-Term Rental

One off-street parking space must be provided (for each bedroom) on the same lot where the short-term rental is located or legal on-street parking spaces along the frontage of said lot (one space per 20' of frontage) may be utilized. If these parking requirements cannot be met, occupancy is reduced to meet the available amount of off-street plus on-street parking spaces.

Next Steps Once You Receive Your Permit and are Ready to Rent or Lease Your Dwelling Unit as a Short-Term Rental:

Owner's rental agreement with the tenant must show:

  1. A copy of owner's registration form with the Town
  2. A copy of owner's permit with the Town
  3. The rental agreement must state the renter may be held legally responsible for any violations of Town laws.

Posted in a conspicuous place in the rental unit should be the following Town ordinances:

eCode 360
Link to
Short-Term Rental of Residential Dwellings
Alcoholic Beverages
Animals (Information on Dogs/Leash Law)
Burning, Outdoor (Fires)
Trash Maintenance & Disposal

The owner must also post on the inside of the primary access door of the rental dwelling:

  1. A copy of the current short-term rental agreement with the printed names of all renters
  2. A copy of owner's registration form with the Town
  3. A copy of owner's permit with the Town

For convenience, items 2 and 3 may be affixed to the door, while item 1, naturally, changes.

Enforcement, Penalties, and Revocation

Enforcement of STR Ordinance

Any zoning enforcement official of the Town can issue a summons for any violation of the ordinance. Violations and citations will be heard and adjudicated by the Portsmouth Municipal Court.

Penalties for Violations of STR Ordinance

Any violation of the ordinance is subject to a fine of not more than:

  • $100 per day for a first violation
  • $250 per day for a second violation
  • $500 per day for a third and each subsequent violation

Such fines may be imposed for each day the violation continues.

Revocation of Rental Permit for Violations of STR Ordinance

The Zoning Enforcement Official may revoke a short-term rental permit issued if it is determined, by a violator's admission or a municipal court finding of a violation, that three or more violations of the ordinance have occurred for the same property within a twelve-month period, and no new permit will be issued to the property owner for the same property for a period of 12 months following the revocation.

Any revocation of a short-term rental permit may be appealed to the Zoning Board of Review as an administrative appeal pursuant to the provisions of Article XIV of the Portsmouth Zoning Ordinance.

Be a Responsible Citizen!

Please read the Town of Portsmouth's Short-Term Rental of Residential Dwellings Ordinance carefully for full details of the ordinance and to ensure you thoroughly understand what is required.