Supreme Judicial Court: Short-Term Rentals Not Consistent with Single-Family Residential Zoning

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In a ruling that could affect short-term rental owners and municipalities across Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court (Court) held in Styller v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Lynnfield, (June 7, 2021) that short-term rentals were not a permissible use under the town of Lynnfield’s zoning bylaw prior to its amendment in 2016. The Court rejected the argument that short-term rentals were a permissible primary use as a “one-family detached house,” calling it “fundamentally flawed” for failing to “recognize that the short-term rental use of a home is inconsistent with the zoning purpose of the single-residence zoning district in which it is situated, i.e., to preserve the residential character of the neighborhood.”

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