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VT Proposed Primary Occupancy Legislation Will shut me down

Just got a heads up from Air about a Vermont bill being considered, to come into effect July1, 2021. Short term rental hosts can only rent a primary residence (must live there 270 days), plus other restrictions. I just fixed up a building on my property that had stood vacant for years. I had turned my back on it after a long term renter ruined it and didn’t want to go through another experience like that again. Other restrictions will apply, but the first rule requiring primary residency would be a game ender for me since I don’t live there. Anything like this happening in other states?

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I don’t agree with it, but it is an interesting way to return entire homes to long term rentals and have an STR going back to the original concept of home sharing.

Out tax laws in Australia make home sharing difficult as you lose a capital gains Tax exemption on your own home when you sell it. A host in Sydney earnt $40000 from her home. When she sold the tax was $40000. She claimed ignorance on the rules and would never have gone to the effort of hosting if she had done the potential liability sums.

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Have you read the legislation? It’s possible that your situation may be excluded because it’s a building on the same property.

Assuming the building you intend putting on Airbnb is on the land of your primary residence could you be compliant with the future rules?

Great question. Not sure.

Think myself and Brian made the same point at the same time, but you get the drift. It’s definitely worth looking at the detail of the legislation to see if it would apply in your circumstances. Here in the UK it would count as part of your home and different legislation and tax rules would apply

Have you contacted legislators? The local visitors bureau?

They usually pay attention to property owners, and it’s not like vacation rentals owned by out of staters are a new thing. Tourism is a good chunk of the economy. Hello?

Surely the Vermont Legislature has a web site that would provide info from the source.

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@openhand - it’s PROPOSED. Fight it. Look to see who else has STRs in your area and see if you can organize them. VT depends a LOT on tourists. This smells like someone trying to protect their hotel business. Write and call your local legislators. Find out when the bill will be reviewed and by which committee. Contact everyone on that committee. Testify at the committee hearing if you can. Get others to write, call and testify as well. You can also submit “written testimony” to the committee if you don’t want to speak at a hearing. Contact your local newspapers and news stations. If you can garner some stats as to how much every visitor spends in VT when there as a tourist (travel bureau has this) you could extrapolate that to show how much STRs via ABB, VRBO, etc add to that total.

But reach out to others in your position and even if they are home sharing and not effected, let them know they WILL BE NEXT. If you are not the “great organizer/motivator/speaker” you need to get people to fill those roles who also have a vested interest.

Fight it!

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My area too. We are already paying 13% state & county occupancy taxes so the city wants in.

The city originally considered restrictive measures then realized they could collect over $1,000,000 in instant revenue with a STR fee for non-hotels. It hasn’t passed yet, but I think it will. That’s too much money for my small town to walk away from.

The point being, money talks. If they realize how much will be lost with restrictions or how much could be gained with a different approach, they will change their minds.

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The original concept of STR was not all home Sharing. There have always been holiday homes available. I rented out my full houses before the birth of AirBnb. AirBnb took a concept of the the lodging house and brought it to the consumer forefront.

The Capital Gains tax exemption is also impacted in the USA

Let us know! If your ADU (accessory dwelling unit) has the same address as your primary residence, you might be OK.

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Problematic legislation was passed in Massachusetts in 2019. Myself and others contacted legislators, but the hotel lobby which favored our regulation was strong. They tweaked it a little before passage. It affected me in a few ways. I had to register with the state tax office and my guests staying less than a month had to pay the occupancy tax. Thankfully Airbnb collects it. Hosts in other parts of the state, particularly Boston and Cape Cod got hit hard by municipal and specialty taxes. It was a mess. Insurance minimums were also dictated and cost me a great deal. They gave local officials a lot of discretion and fortunately the locals haven’t added any burden. My biggest fear is they will impose hotel style building code regulations. I am big on safety but if I had to modify my 200 year old house to meet all the disability and fire codes I would be done. When I started in 2012 Airbnb really operated under the radar, but their public visibility has drawn a lot of attention and ire from competitiors.

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Hey, Im in (central) VT as well. My town has done lots to shut it all down, I have a few great work arounds, that I am happy share… but to answer your question, fortunately the the language is vague , so if you live on the property that the your STR is located, at this point, anyway - there is latitude.

I grew up in Vermont and my family is still there, outside of a college town! I know how deeply the state economies depend on the tourism industry…this proposed bill is certainly a problem.
I agree with everyone else - there is hopefully flexibility for you as you live on the property, and speak up and coordinate to fight this from moving forward.

!!! There is a new advocacy group that can represent STR hosts in Vermont on this proposed H.200 legislation and other issues !!! Vermont Short-Term Rental Alliance. The VTSRA is opposed to the onerous residency requirement. The VTSRA not opposed to reasonable measures establishing a registration requirement and inspections for compliance with safety and health regulations.

Check it out at this web address: https://vtstra.org/

That’s exciting. The inspection part is ok depending on what standards they are inspecting against. Basic cleanliness and food safety are one thing. However, strict building codes that get into handicapped accessibility, etc. can be tough to meet.

Although our State Legislators just announced they have temporarily dropped the proposed STR bill, it will probably restart in the future. I think the draconian residency part is of course a big hurdle for out of state hosts to face but an equally HUGE hurdle is the announced bill requiring all STR’s to be registered with our State and be subject to all State Building Code requirements. As a General Contractor in Vermont, I have often dealt with State inspectors. They brutally enforce National Building Codes covering smoke detectors ( must be hard wired) , emergency egress window sizes, electrical services, railings, etc, etc. My guess is that a majority of current hosts will have significant issues to be resolved before State approval is granted. Some hosts will find that their rental units simply can’t pass muster without throwing large amounts of money into their properties. Hosts must realize that the hands off attitude of Vermont rules are coming to an end.

Good. You can’t put a price on guest safety.

Our LTR’s in Scotland have to be certified for both gas and electrics, with the gas certificate required annually. Hard wired smoke alarms and heat detectors in kitchens came in around four years ago.

All of these measures are likely to be included in the new STR legislation, probably later this year.

There is talk in Spain, where we are already licenced, of stricter rules in respect of smoke alarms etc. If it happens, we’ll comply and write the cost off against tax. It’s simply the cost of doing business.

If the rules require work, then so be it.

Look on the bright side, it’ll get rid of the slumlords and, as long as it’s properly enforced, the folks who don’t want to invest in their businesses, and guest safety.

JF

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And OP is one up as a general contractor to benefit from less competition by non-safety compliant hosts.
I agree that there is a line between safe and non-efficient for someone renting out a vacation home – smoke detectors yes, requiring a large red lighted Exit sign by every door no. Fire extinguisher in the rental unit yes, ceiling sprinkler system no.

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