Short-Term Rentals - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How often must a rental house/apartment be inspected and receive a Certificate of Rental Dwelling (CRD) by the Health Department?
    Rental houses and apartments must be inspected by the Health Department, at minimum, every six years. A short-term rental must be inspected every two-years.
  • Do I need to have a rental inspected by the Health Department every time I get a new occupant(s)?
    Not necessarily. Units can change occupancy without need for re-inspection for the first two-years after issuance of a CRD. If the unit changes occupancy after two-years (as would be the case for short-term rentals) it must be re-inspected and another CRD issued.
  • Why do short-term rentals need a CRD inspection?
    Short-term rentals are not excluded from the Board of Health CRD regulation and requirements for inspection.
  • What does the Health Department look for when performing an inspection?
    There are a number of requirements of the State Sanitary Code (105 CMR 410) that apply to an inspection of a short-term rental. These include:
    • Ensuring basic structural safety and overall security of the space you are providing;
    • Having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, less than 10-years old, on every level and within 10-feet of any sleeping areas
    • Providing two-means of egress – especially if on a second floor or greater
    • Properly installed and functioning utilities, appliances, fixtures and plumbing
    • Means for proper storage and disposal of trash and recycling.
  • I have a swimming pool and/or hot tub. Do they need inspection?
    The State Department of Public Health has not made a determination as to whether or not pools, hot tubs, wading pools, saunas, spas or other, similar, amenities are considered residential, or semi-public, under the applicable regulations. Property owners should use a preponderance of caution when allowing access to these amenities and check with their individual insurance companies as to whether they are covered under your policy.
  • Can I offer breakfast or any other food?
    Businesses providing food as part of their operation can be considered retail food service establishments and may need to comply with the requirements of the 2013 Federal Food Code. Please contact the Health Department for more information.
  • What do I do if an occupant files a complaint with the Health Department?
    The Health Department is required to investigate any complaints related to possible violations of the State Sanitary Code or State Nuisance Code. As part of that process, you will be contacted by our office for information and to schedule a site visit.
  • What other City inspections/regulations apply to my short-term rental?
    At minimum, we recommend you contact the Building Department at (978) 325-5210 and Fire Department at (978) 325-5300 to ensure that you are meeting their requirements for operating a short-term rental.

View the Gloucester Board of Health Certificate of Rental Dwelling (CRD) Regulation and the Massachusetts State Sanitary Code.

For questions and specific information, please contact the Gloucester Health Department at (978) 325-5265.