Baltimore explores regulating Short Term rentals Nov 7, 2015 1:04:25 GMT
Post by High Priestess on Nov 7, 2015 1:04:25 GMT
See this video clip of two hosts, (including our friend Jeannette!) talking to the news about AIrbnb hosting in Baltimore:
"Short-term rentals could get more expensive in the city. Visit Baltimore wants the city to consider regulating the industry.
That could leave businesses like Airbnb with a tax bill.
Visit Baltimore CEO Tom Noonan said this push is about leveling the playing field and making sure short-term rental companies follow the same rules and regulations as hotels and traditional bed and breakfasts.
Some local Airbnb hosts do not view it that way. Jeannette Belliveau has been opening her home to strangers for the last two years.
"It's both more lucrative, maybe about 40 percent than a long-term housemate," Belliveau said. "But it's a lot more work. It's hospitality. It's not so much room-sharing."
Beth Duncan is another homeowner, cashing in by renting rooms in her home on the website Airbnb.
"Doing Airbnb has helped me stay in my home," Duncan said. "I could've possibly foreclosed because my income level changed so dramatically."
The concept of short-term rentals is relatively new, and now Visit Baltimore wants the city to take a closer look at regulating the industry, which could include taxes.
"I pay income tax for my rentals already, and I think it will hurt the guests also," Duncan said.
A spokeswoman for Airbnb says Baltimore isn't the first city to take a look at taxing the industry. She said the company is already collecting and remitting hotel and tourist taxes on behalf of hosts in many cities, including Washington D.C.
Noonan said he would also like the city to consider ways to inspect Airbnb properties to make sure they are up to code and safe for guests.
"I'm getting reviewed by my guests," Duncan said. "If there's a problem, people aren't going to rent from me."
While the city is trying to bounce back from a steep drop in tourism, Airbnb hosts want the city to recognize what they say they're already given back.
"To me Airbnb is this fantastic good thing that Baltimore should be cheering," Belliveau said.
Visit Baltimore doesn't have the authority to make any regulation changes, those must come from the City Council.
A spokesman for City Council President Jack Young said he has not had any formal discussions with Visit Baltimore.
A spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she has a group taking a look at the issue, with the goal of bringing legislation to City Council."