I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that the state has imposed a new tax on these properties, with a cut going to the relevant municipalities:
The city is looking to hire a contractor to monitor short-term house rentals in the city to see whether they are complying with zoning ordinances and other regulations, Mayor Scott Avedisian announced.
A check of available short-term house and apartment rentals on Airbnb and VRBO, two major short-term rental websites, showed each had about 200 listings in Warwick. Avedian said the city building department doesn’t have the resources to check each property and monitor them for compliance, but a contractor would. …
Avedisian said the city’s plan is based on a similar effort by the City of Newport, which hired a firm called Host Compliance LLC, to track short-term leasing within its borders. Newport Mayor Henry F. Winthrop said the company’s first effort produced a list of about 235 properties listed online for short-term leases that appeared to either be unregistered as businesses or in violation of a city regulation.
Such stories contribute to the impression that government in Rhode Island doesn’t see itself as serving the people, so much as the people serve the government. Give it financial incentive, and it will go after the citizens. We’re here as a bank for officials to collect money for their own favored parties, which mainly means labor unions, but also covers compliant corporations, dependent constituencies, and the occasional relative of somebody connected.