My city is finally looking at regulating STRs. I have questions

Airbnb sent me an email letting me know about meetings the city is having to get input on proposed regulations. It looks like the main changes will be a 17% tax and a permit required. I probably won’t attend the meetings since they aren’t at a good time for me and since I’m mostly in favor of the regulations. However, I may just stop hosting since dealing with the government is frustrating, I don’t expect the regs to be fairly enforced, and I don’t make much money doing Airbnb.

I expect if I raise prices to cover the tax I’ll be undercut by hosts not following the law. If I keep prices the same to be as competitive as I am now, it might not be worth the trouble. OTOH, regs together with a flood of new airbnbs may work to kill off some of the weaker competition.

How much is the local portion of the tax where you are (US only)?

Has anyone done the transition from no regulations to ones similar to these? What impact did it have?


Our occupancy tax is 14.45%.

Yes, and it didn’t seem to affect the business. We kept getting more business, but we were new (about one year into it) when the transition occurred. You didn’t ask, but the tax seems only fair to me, as it puts short-term rentals in the same occupancy tax as hotels.

Me too. I’d encourage you to participate even if it’s a letter expressing your views (better a face-to-face, one-on-one meeting). Regulators need to understand the economic difference to a neighborhood of a Home-share Host and a remote Host with multiple properties.

They also need to understand what the real problems have been with short-term rentals and what regulations are appropriate for those concerns. From what I’ve read here are the main concerns and what I might do as a regulator.

Concern: Gentrification
Action: Exempt home-share Hosts as this activity has no bearing on gentrification. In fact, preventing Home-share hosts from hosting might lead to them selling their home and accelerating gentrification. Other actions might be appropriate, but not for home-share hosts; actions like limiting the number of days that the STR can be rented.

Concern: Parties
Initial Actions:
Noise: Require all listings to incorporate and state the local noise ordinance.
Noise: Require identifying information of booking guest, who will be subject to fine from the local municipality for all violations of law. [I don’t know how easy it is to enforce a fine on an out-of-state guest, but assume that if egregious violations were made criminal that enforcement would be easier.]
Parties: Specify how maximum occupancy is determined. Limit gatherings to a multiple of the maximum occupancy. Require that this information be in the listing.
Parking: Specify a summary of salient aspects of local parking laws to be in listing.

Concern: Unsafe Homes Listed as STRs
Action: Before a Home can be registered as a permitted STR a city code inspector must inspect the property inside and out to verify that it conforms to the building code. The STR Host must pay a fee to fully reimburse the municipality for this expense. Permit lasts five years.

Concern: Unregistered Short-term Rentals
Action: The municipality will proactively monitor STR listings and impose onerous penalties for failure to register. Municipality will work with Airbnb, VRBO and similar firms to get these firms to put a page on their site on the municipality’s laws and to proactively message all STRs in the municipality’s jurisdiction about the need to register (Airbnb does this now for several municipalities like NYC), and will share with the municipality on a periodic basis (quarterly) identifying information of all Hosts so that the municipality can easily verify registration.

This is not an exhaustive list.

My concern is that the legislators throw out the STR baby with the bath water.

The legislators really need informed input from seasoned Hosts like you to craft appropriate laws.

I think you could make a valuable contribution to your community by finding a way to participate.


17% ouch! It is 10% here.
I am in the county, not city and they just overhauled the STR regulations and put a moratorium on new permits until September. Presumably they are using this time to do inspections (exterior only, signage, noise monitor outside, parking) and to weed out the non permitted properties.

They also raised the permit fees

Overall I am ok with it, I am assuming they will shut down the illegal competition, they have hired a contractor to hunt them all down and others will drop out due to the increased regulation and fees.

So if everyone is paying taxes and permit fees it should level the playing field for you to I would guess @KKC



Would this tax be charged to the host or the guest? Although I’m not in the US, 16% VAT and 4% Occupancy tax is charged to the guest, so I didn’t need to up my room rate to cover that. Nor did I lower it to make it more affordable for guests, as everyone with Mexican listings has these taxes applied- you can no longer fly under the radar.

In fact, for remote hosts who own vacation homes here but do not have residency status so therefore cannot obtain a tax number, the Mex. tax dept. makes Airbnb charge an occupancy tax of 20% to guests, rather than the normal 3-5% (varies by state) for listings hosted by Mexican tax-registered hosts.

I did raise my rate by a few bucks when the tax law changed so that I am charged a straight 4% income tax on my earnings, rather than being allowed to deduct expenses. That didn’t seem to affect my booking rate.

Even if you don’t attend the meetings, I would urge you to weigh in with your views to the local powers that be- your contribution would be valuable, as you can honestly state that you are in favor of some reasonable regulations, yet point out how all strs are not equal, and a rental like yours doesn’t cause any disturbance, doesn’t take available long-term housing off the market, boosts the local economy, and certainly doesn’t bring in the level of income that means you could easily afford the increased taxes and permit fees and still have a viable business.

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I don’t know. Right now there is 6.5% charged to the guest that is collected by Airbnb. If I have to collect another 17% and remit it to the city that’s not as desirable as Airbnb doing it for me.

As for income tax I’m usually in the range of about 12% with my deductions. So if a third of my bookings are going to taxes I might just not find it worthwhile. But I have to see how it all shakes out. That’s why I’m seeing if anyone has a comparable experience. I might be able to save myself the trouble of getting a permit.

Airbnb and VRBO remits all our taxes.

I would assume that would happen there, but if you participate in the political process I’d strongly recommend that the City negotiate with Airbnb and VRBO, maybe others, and ask that they remit the taxes because the City will get much higher compliance that way.

For us the guest pays the taxes. I had assumed that that is how it will work for you. The guest pays the tax but the Host through Airbnb (ideally) remits the tax.

The email made mention of 78% of the local listings being on Airbnb. Since we don’t really have a vacation home market it’s no surprise that Airbnb dominates here.

There are several key factors. My state has regulations regarding registering and occupancy tax. Airbnb collects the state tax for me and it is identified separately for guests. Some cities and regions in my state have passed more complicated additional taxes and requirements. The state left the local municipalities free to pass and enforce whatever else they liked. I have a historic home which is lovely, but some building codes, if they applied, would be hard to meet. Weirdly the state doesn’t seem to have thought much about who will enforce the various pieces. That’s OK with me. I would encourage you to weigh in even if it is only in writing. Encourage legislators to treat homeshares and separate rentals separately. The separate rentals probably deserve to be on an even playing field with hotels. However, no hotel is really equivalent to a homeshare, at least not similar to mine. If they come up with anything draconian, encourage a slow roll out.

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I think it’s especially important for long-time, local hosts to weigh in on proposed local regulation changes. That could carry more weight, as they are invested in the overall well-being of the community, and have years of experience to draw on in their presentation, as opposed to newbie or remote hosts.

Thanks everyone for your input.

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Our county commissioner’s scheduled meeting regarding zoning use was cancelled a cpl of days ago because the crowd of constituents exceeded the capacity of the room. Yay for folks showing up to voice their concerns! They’re looking at everything from STRs to cottage industry regs, & adopting building codes. Horrors, can you imagine building codes?!:dizzy_face: Personally, I’m all about building codes, having worked in the construction industry for 30 years. Most of the locals in this area, not so much…
BUT, I do want a say in how they’re going to regulate my STR, & how they tax me. We’ll see how this pans out, as it’s early in the game…


One area near where I live and have my listings is trying to push through a 90 night annual limitation.
The locals who can’t get staff, are for it.
The absentee landlords, not so much.
The main issue is the lack of affordable housing for lower paid workers, no accommodation equals no staff.
The government has done very little about this.
There are over 3000 listings in and around this very small town and the real estate prices are insane!

AirBnB collects our occupancy and sales tax for us from the guests. Then they send the money to our city/county. This is one of the key reasons I only use AirBnB. Those taxes are something like 13% in our community and sending them out each month is work.

For guests who stay longer than 28 days AirBnB does not collect the sales tax. Although I do offer that option I am not keen on it, I do not offer monthly discounts.

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When I learned that my state was going to require taxes and permits I did a little research and found out that my STR would qualify as a boarding house (bedrooms with limited kitchen facilities where I provided breakfast.)

The unit is on my second floor but I don’t have a full kitchen. I already provide oatmeal and could have just added cereal and milk but I decided to just get the permit and qualify. Perhaps there are regulations on the books in your state/city that would allow you to use this exemption.

I just did a quick google to provide the verbiage for you to read but I think that my state might have updated the rules but when I first applied it wasn’t the case so it may be that a home share can still be classified differently in your city.

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They will use the permit fees to purchase and run a software to catch the violators.

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What I found out from our local govenment is that Airbnb does send the money but they don’t list what STR’s the money came from. So, now, we’re supposed to send what we paid to local so they can track who’s paying.
Good luck with that.

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That would be great. In the preliminary proposals the permit fee would be a sliding scale based on “cost of service,” which I took to mean the price of the Airbnb. If they use software and really enforce the ordinance then I’m more likely to participate. At the very least I’ll stay listed and see how it goes the first year.

I see some meetings posted that are at times I can attend so I will probably make an attempt to go.

My guests pay 6% state sales tax and 8.25% local tax. I used to have to collect and remit both, and I grossed up my rate accordingly rather than try to collect separately from guests. Eventually the state set up an agreement with Airbnb and other platforms to collect sales tax. Recently, my county did the same, so now Airbnb does all the collecting and remitting.

That evened the playing field between me and the scofflaws; I know there were hosts who failed to comply previously. So one thing to ask about the regs is whether your city will contract with Airbnb to collect the tax, and whether any agreement with Airbnb will require enough detailed data to identify individual properties and hosts and check for permit status.

To get down in the weeds, it took our county attorneys some time and effort to sort out Airbnb collections and remittances. Airbnb’s standard agreement aggregated all the tax payments (“here’s a lump sum”), and our treasurer quite rightly pushed back as that is in no way auditable.

My county permit goes up every year; it’s at $75 now. I also have to file a local business property tax return. I included the new washer/dryer, which is almost depreciated so I’ll be paying $0 business personal property tax soon.


I agree. I’ve not had the transition because being in a tourism area we’ve had to deal with bed tax, permits and so on for what seems like always.

Because the local authorities make money from these taxes and permits and licenses and what-have-you they are also determined to stamp out any illegal rentals.

I’ve mentioned here before that a neighbour had his listing in place for only a couple of days and yet had a notice posted on his door that he would be fined $500 per day (and that was several years ago) until he complied with the necessary regulations.

As @RiverRock says, knowing that they need these legalities and that the authorities would find them and deal with them, deters a lot of ‘let’s give Airbnb a go’ types. Under the radar hosts, worried about huge fines, decide that it’s not worth it.

Because rentals need to have STR insurance before they can get the permits, the whole thing is safer for guests (and neighbours).