Numerous towns and cities in my state (Vermont ) are proposing draconian STR regulations that could severely impact hosts ability to rent their properties. . Burlington, our largest city wants to almost outright ban them. Plymouth, a tiny town in the mountains wants to severely curtail them through numerous rules and requirements. The days of unfettered capitalism for us hosts is coming to an end. It behoves us hosts to carefully monitor unfolding events in our towns and cities.
unfettered capitalism ?
Sounds like you’re at step zero of what could be a long, long - and likely county by county - process. If you’re an established incumbent, paying taxes, minding your manners, and being a good host, you’re going to be in a better position than you think.
Be present at the town hall discussions. Bring members of your crew. Bring your GC, your electrician, your painter. Make sure they speak up too. It’s these crew members/subcontractors that will help tell your story (our crew would have very different (and not so great) lives if not for the STR economy).
If there’s a way to get permitted somehow at this stage, obviously, make sure you’re the first in line for that!
Capitalism, property rights, and the STR movement is much more powerful than you think. Hang in there.
I’ll bet that the folks complaining are the ones that just moved there, since Vermont has been full of summer rentals since railroads made them possible.
I have one good piece of advice for hosts when this starts to happen, especially if the room tax you generate pays to operate your local tourist bureau/destination marketing organization: JOIN YOUR LOCAL TOURIST BUREAU. Attend their events. Put your rack cards in their racks at the airport, bus station, train station, tourism office. Volunteer and be active, and use those contacts to organize!
I found that joining my local bureau was worth the $300/year, because the networking opportunities made it worthwhile — one breakfast per month. And it gave me the opportunity to host travel writers.
My area STR restrictions have been evaluated, discussed, planned, postponed for a few years now. I think they’ve got something workable so change will come.
I read some of the relevant meeting minutes from a couple years ago. There was a push by residents to ban STRs in a large area.
One of the City Council members pointed out the revenue generated, the taxes paid (higher property tax rate & hospitality taxes) & jobs created by those rentals. To replace the lost taxes if STRs banned would increase residents’ property taxes by a large amount. The STR ban idea quickly fell out of favor.
Massachusetts did this a couple of years ago. We ended up needing to register our rooms, register each guest, collect occupancy tax (Airbnb does the state level tax), and have a specific level of insurance. The insurance can be killer. Weirdly I’m not sure it is very clear in our state who is supposed to be monitoring this and I hope it stays that way. One of the more threatening things to me was the mention that local municipalities can put in their own requirements which can be taxes, building codes, board of health requirements, etc. If these can strict they can quickly put one out of business. One of my state reps had a staffer who was an AIrbnb host and he couldn’t even convince our rep not to support this law.
Until people experience an Airbnb stay or until they see how it can benefit them, they don’t understand it. They believe every negative thing.
Story: several years ago, Small party-14 people. One VRBO host couple in attendance & me (Airbnb host). Host of the party happily declaring his neighborhood was voting on allowing or banning STRs in the neighborhood. VRBO host & I tried to explain the benefits & the bad stories were the exceptions. We were told we were wrong, they should be banned.
Years later, host of party now in poor health. Medical bills. 3,000 sq ft home. Upstairs has separate entry available & mother-in-law suite with kitchenette. House designed with primary living all on 1st floor. Now complains that STR to travel medical staff not allowed and he’s got the perfect house for it and could use the money. Oh well…
I live in MA and am not aware of a requirement to register each guest. Is this a requirement by your county? BTW, Airbnb also remits our county tax, as well as the state tax.
I stand corrected. You are right. Only our STR has to be registered with the state. I have registration cards for guests so that I can match them with taxes paid through Airbnb. It also give me detail and up to date information in case I need to reach them and is useful for return guests. My insurance company wants a record of who has been here and I never rely on Airbnb for much so I keep the cards. I believe that the individual registration of guests was struck from the original bill in 2019.
I like the card idea and have thought it only reasonable to have the legal names of people in your home should there be damages or such. I was actually hoping that it was a legal requirement so that I could justify it that way.
As it is, I don’t require this information as my impression is that some would-be guests would find it off-putting though you and a few others here require it without any trouble. My insurer, Proper, does not require it.
I say it is a requirement on the card, lol.