Important Federal Action On Concerns About Short-Term Rentals; New Advancements Across U.S.
From the AH&LA’s July 2016 Front Lobby
(July 18, 2016) In Congress, last week, Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA), Brian Schatz (HI), and Dianne Feinstein (CA) sent a letter to the Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) raising concerns about the short-term rental industry with respect to housing costs, consumer protection, racial discrimination, community safety, and the platforms’ inconsistent compliance with tax laws. Additionally, the Senators requested the FTC to provide data on the degree to which the short-term rental industry is comprised of commercial operators renting out multiple units. AH&LA applauds the Senators for their leadership on this issue. To view the letter to the FTC, click here.
In New York, AH&LA’s Katherine Lugar sent a letter to the Governor urging him to sign an important bill that would ban the advertisement of illegal short-term rental listings. The letter, to Governor Cuomo, Attorney General Schneiderman and Mayor de Blasio also highlights that Airbnb’s self-governance approach has not worked to date and included an embargoed copy of the recent analysis conducted by researchers at Penn State University in conjunction with AH&LA that illustrates a significant portion of Airbnb’s revenue in New York City is generated by commercial landlords listing residential properties for rent full-time. View a spotlight of the New York City data here.
In Hawaii, Governor David Ige (D) vetoed legislation that would have allowed Airbnb to collect and remit taxes on behalf of its hosts and guests in the state. The governor’s action appears to have been driven by concerns with the effect such rentals are having on the character of communities across the state and the negative effect on affordable housing for residents. In issuing the veto, Governor Ige noted the desire to capture the occupancy taxes from the increasing volume of transient rentals taking place on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb.
In Virginia, the state’s Short-term Rental Work Group met again last week to continue its legislatively mandated investigation into the short-term rental industry following the contentious debate during the 2016 session. The work group, which is comprised of legislators as well as private sector representatives of the hotel industry, Airbnb, and local governments, focused this month’s meeting on the mechanics of Airbnb’s business model. Other presenters included the Community Association Institute, outlining the negative impacts of unregulated short-term rentals on condo and HOA communities, as well as representatives of the state apartment association and the state Department of Revenue. AH&LA, along with the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association and member companies continue our efforts to push for a strong, comprehensive bill that reins in illegal hotels and provides important enforcement provisions