The rules are clear: If you rent a bed for a short term stay in the city of Dallas, you owe the city of Dallas some money — what's called a hotel occupancy tax. That means everyone: "hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts and short-term vacation rentals," according to City Hall.
And that includes people who rent out rooms or apartments or whole houses using the website Airbnb. But according to city officials, of the 900 or so Dallas "hosts" with by-the-night listings on Airbnb, only 30 or so actually pay hotel occupancy taxes every year, either because they don't know they need to or they just don't care.
That's about to stop, thanks to a deal the city is hashing out with Airbnb.
City officials estimate the city loses about $1 million a year via Airbnb rentals, money that goes toward servicing the debt on the convention center, funding the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau and helping cultural programs. And that million might seem negligible, given the $54 million in hotel occupancy taxes collected in recent years, but the city wants every cent of what it's owed.