Informing and protecting Wellfleet homeowners in the National Seashore

Local Issues

Lodging Tax on Short-Term Rentals

The Massachusetts legislature has adopted a lodging tax on short-term rentals such as AirBnB and others (including private individuals) who rent more than 14 days/year. This new tax was adopted for leases signed after January 1, 2019.

All properties that do any short-term rentals (including those for less than 14 days) must register on the state short-term rental registry. Additionally, each city and town is permitted to create a registration requirement for short term rentals. We don't know yet what Wellfleet may require. The state regulations are posted here

Towns may implement a health and safety inspection requirement and set the frequency of inspections. Short-term rental operators are required to cover the cost of inspections and will likely face a fee to cover registration costs as well. Again, we do not know what Wellfleet's policy will be.

Wellfleet's tax rate will be 12.5%, split between State (5.7%) -- Local (4.0%) Wastewater (2.75%). This is subject to review so check with the Wellfleet town hall for the final numbers. Whoever collects the rent is responsible for collecting and transmitting the tax. Like a hotel lodging tax, it is added on to the rent (and any other costs such as cleaning, linens, etc.) as an extra charge.

In addition to collecting a lodging tax, owners must obtain liability insurance. Is your rental home adequately insured? is an article outlining the liability insurance requirements. From the website "We Need A Vacation".

Also from the the website "We Need A Vacation", a helpful list of Frequently asked questions.

Residential Exemption

In 2018 a divided select board voted to adopt a 20% residential tax exemption (RTE) offering a property tax break to local homeowners on their primary residence.

"Welleet residents will get tax exemption" by Edward Miller, Wicked Local Wellfleet, September 13, 2018

Residential Exemption Fact Sheet

Editorial on Residential Exemption

Offshore Drilling

"Fed’s oshore oil plan raises local concerns" by Donna Tunney, Wicked Local Wellfleet, January 12, 2018 describing the federal plan to allow more offshore drilling.

WNSHA position statement against Offshore Drilling

Climate Change

Climate change is having an impact on Cape Cod in many ways, from changing migratory patterns and endangered species to the impact on ponds and the local environment.

"Status Report: The Cape’s endangered species" by Rich Eldred, Wicked Local Wellfleet, August 10, 2018 discussing the Cape's endangered species under attack from proposed changes in the classification of endangered species.

"Global warming is changing marine migratory patterns", Wicked Local Wellfleet, August 16, 2018 

"Number-one issue at ponds is climate change, not pee", by Sophie Ruehr, Provincetown Banner, September 6, 2018

A study on the impact of climate change on Wellfleet ponds: Changes in the thermal structure of freshwater lakes within Cape Cod National Seashore(Massachusetts, USA) from 1996 to 2014 by Stephen M. Smith, Sophia E. Fox, Holly K. Plaisted, K. Medeiros & Krista D. Lee (2018)

"Welleet signs on to global covenant on climate", by Elspeth Hay, Wicked Local Wellfleet, July 18, 2018. Wellfleet becomes 10th Massachusetts city to commit to climate initiatives through the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.


Summer always brings questions about dealing with ticks and the tick diseases that have appeared on the Cape. Here are some articles from local papers with advice and updates.

Deer Ticks. One bite can change your life -- presentation at the 2016 annual meeting of the Wellfleet National Seashore Homeowners Association.

"5 tips to keep ticks away", Wicked Local Wellfleet, September 18, 2017

"Tick Testing Program Receives Funding", Wicked Local Wellfleet, January 25, 2016. Discussing Barnstable Cooperative Extension's program to test Cape ticks for diseases.

"Videos highlight tick-borne illness prevention on Cape Cod", Wicked Local Dennis, October 1, 2018, with links to videos prepared by Barnstable County Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.

Tickology Project, a series of videos on tick identification, prevention and ecology.