As an introduction to the information on Short-Term-Rentals as a segment of the lodging industry
and therefore should be subject to the customary regulations,
we're sharing an excerpt of PAII's Position Statement on Short-Term-Rentals.
The Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), the leading trade association for owners and operators of bed and breakfasts and inns, believes in a vibrant travel and lodging marketplace, and recognizes the continuing influence of technology and the emergence of new third party travel agents. While properties such as Hotels, Inns, and Bed & Breakfasts have offered short-term rental lodging for hundreds of years, a new segment of ‘hosts’ who advertise lodging through online platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, and others has emerged. PAII is concerned that guest safety and regulatory compliance is no longer being uniformly adhered to and enforced in the short‐term rental market. Short-term rentals providing accommodations for compensation 15 or more nights annually are subject to business taxation as per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Therefore, it is appropriate that these businesses comply with the laws, regulations, and business practices applied to similar lodging properties such as Bed & Breakfasts and small Inns. PAII is committed to advocacy for equitable standards and regulation on behalf of all lodging accommodations offering short term rentals to the public.
(Adopted by the PAII Board of Directors February 5, 2013
Reaffirmed by the PAII Board of Directors April 29, 2015 and January 12, 2017)
To read the entire document, click:
INDEX of DOCUMENTS
IRS Sharing Economy Tax Center
(income must be reported when home rented 15 or more days annually)
Background: Federal Law, Airbnb, and the Internet
(platforms cannot be forced to verify information published by people who use their services)
CA Appellate Court ruling: STR Platform / host information NOT covered by SCA. 3-28-18
3-28-18 CA ruling SCA doesn't apply to platforms.pdf
Short Term Rentals - Update from a PAII Board Member 1-31-2018
(Airbnb delists non-compliant hosts in San Francisco)
SAMPLE Letter to City Council / Suitable for Legislators (10-2017)
(apply lodging regulations to STRs, tax payment agreements with Airbnb/platforms, IRS 15-night rule)
SAMPLE TESTIMONY City Planning / Suitable for Legislative 6-2017
SAMPLE: How to testify before a Legislative Body 7-2016
SAMPLE: Action Steps for Innkeepers / Talking Points to Legislators (Vermont Inn and B&B Assn 2017-18)
Vermont Inn & B&B Assn: Position on Proposed STR Bill 2017
SAMPLE LEGISLATION PASSED to Regulate Short-Term-Rentals
District of Columbia - November 2018
Virginia: STRs regulated like B&Bs
West Virginia: STRs taxed, must register. Includes model tax guide.
Wisconsin: STR must obtain lodging license
AND: A GUIDE to Short Term Rental Laws in Wisconsin: https://datcp.wi.gov/Documents/ShortTermRentalGuidance.pdf
POWER POINT PRESENTATION (2016)
(history, terminology, threats, opportunities)
IRS Sharing Economy Tax Center (excerpt 12-2017)
If you use one of the many online platforms available to rent a spare bedroom, provide car rides, or to connect and provide a number of other goods or services, you’re involved in what is sometimes called the sharing economy.
An emerging area of activity in the past few years, the sharing economy has changed how people commute, travel, rent vacation places and perform many other activities. ... Although this is a developing area of the economy, there are tax implications for the companies that provide the services and the individuals who perform the services.
This means if you receive income from a sharing economy activity, it’s generally taxable even if you don’t receive a Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions, Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or some other income statement. This is true even if you do it as a side job or just as a part time business and even if you are paid in cash. On the other hand, depending upon the circumstances, some or all of your business expenses may be deductible, subject to the normal tax limitations and rules.
Rules for Home Rentals
If you receive rental income for the use of a house or an apartment, including a vacation home, it must be reported on your return in most cases. You may deduct certain expenses, but special rules and limits often apply. These deductible expenses, which may include mortgage interest, real estate taxes, casualty losses, maintenance, utilities, insurance and depreciation, reduce the amount of rental income that is subject to tax.
If you use the dwelling unit for both rental and personal purposes, you generally must divide your total expenses between the rental use and the personal use based on the number of days used for each purpose. You won’t be able to deduct your rental expense in excess of the gross rental income limitation.
There’s a special rule if you use a dwelling unit as a personal residence and rent it for fewer than 15 days. In this case, don’t report any of the rental income and don’t deduct any expenses as rental expenses. ...
IRS Sharing Economy Tax Center full text: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/sharing-economy-tax-center
Background: Federal Law, Airbnb, and the Internet
The Communications Decency Act was passed by Congress in 1996 to create national rules about how internet platforms can be regulated. The key provision of the CDA at issue here is Section 230 which prohibits states and local governments from holding internet platforms liable for content created by people who use their website. Specifically, Section 230 provides:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information
provided by another information content provider.
How do the new rules in San Francisco violate the CDA?
The San Francisco Ordinance violates the CDA by holding an internet platform responsible for content posted by the people who use that service. Specifically:
1. The Ordinance imposes criminal and civil penalties on internet platforms if a user fails to post a registration number with their listing. The CDA clearly prohibits state or local governments from imposing this type of requirement on platforms. The CDA makes clear that individuals who use internet platforms are solely responsible for the content they create.
2. The Ordinance requires internet platforms to verify that a host’s registration number is accurate. The CDA makes clear and courts have consistently agreed that platforms cannot be forced to verify information published by people who use their services.
Background: Federal Law, Airbnb, and the Internet full text
(Note: the above information on the CDA shows that legislation requiring short-term-rental platforms to 'police' or reveal information about the hosts will be legally challenged. Regulatory compliance should be placed on the host / property.)
Short Term Rentals - Update from a PAII Board Member 1-31-2018
Recent wins in regulating Short-Term Rentals (STR) clearly show that State and Local Governments, Lodging Associations, like PAII and AH&LA who are interested in leveling the playing field, and citizen organizations who are concerned about both their neighborhoods and the availability of low rent housing, are getting their message heard, understood, and acted upon in a positive manner. The wins include small towns, like my own Orange, VA, to cities like San Francisco, To states like Wisconsin. Wisconsin passed very thorough statewide STR regulations while tiny Orange enacted regulations requiring Registration of all Short-Term Rentals (which means every STR facility will eventually have to follow the same regulations as legal B&Bs like ours).
The agreement reached in San Francisco is really a bell weather event since it involves the City and several STR Organizations such as HomeAway, Flip Key, and Airbnb (who’s HQ is in San Francisco), and required that all STRs be registered with the City and makes the listing site liable for listing non-compliant units.
My compliments to Airbnb, who notified their San Francisco listings that they MUST register or be delisted, and who has subsequently delisted thousands of hosts who did not register. The transparency shown by Airbnb, and their forward thinking in this action, is reflective of their maturing business philosophy and will hopefully be carried forward into other states and communities.
PAII will continue to work with every part of the Short-Term Rental and Lodging Community (Governments, hosting sites, hosts, partner Hospitality Organizations and other businesses) to ensure a level playing field is available for all.
Jack North, Mayhurst Inn, Member, PAII Board of Directors
SAMPLE LETTER to CITY COUNCIL / SUITABLE FOR LEGISLATORS (10-2017)
FOCUS: City Council, apply lodging regulations to Short Term Rentals, tax payment agreements with Airbnb, requiring a license fee from platforms, requiring platforms to de-list properties, IRS 15-night rule
DATE: 0ctober 18, 2017
TO: Minneapolis City Council Members
FROM: Kris Ullmer, Executive Director of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International. (I reside in Central Wisconsin, have testified before the St Paul city planning commission, and have worked with Minnesota B&B innkeepers on the issue of fair regulations for all lodging properties)
Tonight at your Council meeting you will be considering whether or not the lodging phenomenon known as 'short term rentals' (as advertised on websites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and many others) are to pay taxes and abide by the health & safety standards which lodging properties such as Bed & Breakfasts and Hotels are required to do.
You'll hear from the 'hosts' of these unregulated properties that they're providing a service, that they're paying their mortgage, that they're improving their property, and that they shouldn't have to operate their lodging by the same rules as other types of lodging. And more. Of course you know that B&Bs and Hotels are providing a service - at a slightly higher rate due to their insurance coverage, taxation, and regulatory compliance. Innkeepers use their income to pay their mortgages and improve their properties too...all while in compliance with the lodging standards that we'd like to think are in place for good reasons.
You'll hear the term 'the share economy'. Short term rental hosts are not sharing anything - they are engaged in the business transaction of lodging in exchange for money. While they are 'sharing' (not voluntarily, of course) a percentage of their rental fee with the listing website, they are not sharing their income by paying room tax or business fees in support of tourism marketing and the local economy and services. Is this the cool new economy? No - tax evasion is as old as taxes themselves.
The marketplaces which advertise the lodging properties - whether a website (Airbnb, for example), a newspaper, TV ad, etc. are not logically the entity to be paying the taxes and fees on the lodging property's income. While it is tempting to 'require' Airbnb (and others) to pay taxes / fees / register, the agreements that have been struck prohibit auditing / verification that what is paid is truly what is owed. What other business gets to pay whatever they want? And, here's a loophole: since guests pay Airbnb a 9% booking fee, they are very motivated to book subsequent nights or visits directly with the host. Thus, the rental revenue does not pass thru Airbnb, nor does any taxation flow to the municipality.
There are proposals to require Airbnb / other platforms to pay a licensing fee to operate; it's not going to happen in Minnesota and it hasn't happen anywhere else. Additionally, Airbnb has steadfastly refused to remove listings when requested / 'ordered' by municipalities for violation of local requirements.
The Superbowl is coming to Minneapolis, creating a huge demand for lodging...this event is not likely responsible for the significant increase in short term rentals now - tailgating aside, it really is a bit early to start partying. In Wisconsin, 'anyone' can rent out rooms / their house for an event, such as the Harley Rally or EAA (Experimental Aircraft Assn), for 10 or fewer days per year without any type of lodging license. The IRS requires 'short term rental' of 15 or more days per year to file / pay taxes, thus considering them a business.
So, there are 2 separate issues before you: hosts who will operate only for a very limited number of days in connection with an event, and hosts who operate year 'round /seasonally / longer periods of time.
What do we respectfully ask that you do? It's really simple ... apply the same taxation and regulations to all lodging properties operating for longer periods of time with respect to the size of the property; require the property itself be responsible for insurance/regulatory fees/taxes. For example, a 3 guest bedroom 'Airbnb' property is regulated the same as a 3 guest bedroom B&B. This is fair for existing businesses and for new businesses ... and it's the right thing to do.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this issue.
SAMPLE TESTIMONY City Planning / Suitable for Legislative
DATE: June 2, 2017
Madam Chairman and Commissioners:
I’m (XXX), (your address), (title, your business 'innkeeper of the XXX licensed Bed & Breakfast') I’m here to support the just and fair regulations for all types of lodging properties.
“Short Term Rental” and the “Sharing Economy” are simply new terms for the exchange of money for lodging.
By inventing these new terms – which do not appear in existing codes, regulations, or statutes – advertisers such as Airbnb and other mega websites con you into thinking this IS something new, and agencies / legislators such as yourselves spend hours and months doing studies and debating what to do.
The answer is simple: short term rentals are in private homes, just like Bed & Breakfasts. Short Term Rentals are in multi-family buildings, like apartments or hotels. The regulations that you have already debated and established for B&Bs and hotels logically apply to short term rentals. It is your responsibility to protect St. Paul’s citizens, neighborhoods, guests, and support city services through just & fair regulations.
Back in February during the ‘work group‘ conference call, we heard directly from Airbnb that they are not in the business of policing short term rentals. You have correctly concluded it is up to you to regulate and enforce directly with the hosts.
Every business works to make repeat customers. B&Bs and hotels encourage their guests to book directly with them for the best rate – and the innkeepers saves a 15-20% Expedia or other OTA booking fee. Airbnb hosts do the same – and their guests are even more motivated to book direct because that very guest will save a 9% booking fee. Cities and states that abdicate their responsibility to regulate and collect tax by turning it over to Airbnb, lose revenue when transactions skip the Airbnb pipeline. There is no such taxation loss when the responsibility is rightly placed on the B&B, hotel, or short term rental host.
Short Term Rental hosts will say the regulations shouldn’t apply to them – we’ve already shown that they are in the lodging business. STR hosts will say the regulations are too strict – and they have a valid point. Any changes in regulations: the 1000 foot distance between B&B, or the cap on the number of rooms, or the number of guests per room – can be adjusted and must be applied uniformly, fairly, to all lodging options.
By ignoring the short term rental business, or giving them a free ride or a significantly reduced fare, you will kill the legitimate lodging businesses that now support the city services; it is happening all over the country.
ADDENDUM: follow up correspondence to the city
We heard experiences from a number of Airbnb hosts. It is interesting to note:
1. A 5-year ‘SuperHost’ stated that any funds that may come from regulations should go to make the city better. Isn’t that what the present licensing / occupancy taxes already do?
2. More than one host cited the income earned from hosting enabled them to pay their mortgage. Isn’t that what the income from a licensed B&B does?
3. More than one host cited the increased curb appeal of their properties and pride in their neighborhood, due to their Airbnb income. Isn’t that what the income from a licensed B&B does?
4. Two hosts noted it is reasonable to have a proper business certificate (tier system), to be taxed, to notify neighbors and recommended taking the best practices and applying them to St. Paul. We applaud their reasoning; St. Paul’s Bed & Breakfast licensing is scaled to the size of the property – for example, a 1-room B&B is not subject to zoning.
5. No one chose to specifically address the ‘proposed maximum number of guests in a short term rental dwelling unit’ as proposed by the zoning code amendment. And for good reason: it is very complicated. The maximum number of adult guests is inversely proportionate to the number of adult residents; however the number of children permitted (lineal descendants, adopted or legally cared for and any domestic employees) is unlimited. Thus, “19 Kids and Counting” is an allowed scenario in a ‘single housekeeping unit’. This is contrary to Bed & Breakfast and Hotel parameters which address maximum number of guests per room and square footage.
In conclusion, every Airbnb host in St. Paul could easily comply with the present lodging license requirements; they have simply chosen to operate illegally including evading the payment of occupancy taxes.
****************** THE END ******************
SAMPLE: How to Testify before a Legislative Body
Report on the Virginia Airbnb Legislation Sub Committee Meeting in Richmond on 14 July, 2016.
Jack North, Innkeeper Mayhurst Inn, Orange, Virginia
COMMENTS / TESTIMONY
(This text is a good example of how to present comments before a legislative body. PAII shares some notes in red)
(Introduce yourself – why are you qualified to speak?)
Good Afternoon. My name is Jack North. My wife and I operate Mayhurst Inn, a legal B&B, and our home, in Orange County Virginia. We’ve been at it for 13 years. I am also a member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), the largest B&B Association in the Country.
We wonder why Airbnb is trying to change something that isn’t broken. Virginia already has unique Laws, rules and regulations for B&Bs
(Clearly summarize the present situation and why it works well)
Legal B&Bs know, better than anyone else, that we are not the same as Hotels. Because we are different we have worked in harmony with other accommodation providers, and with state and local governments, to develop rules for building codes, occupancy requirements and fire and safety regulations that apply only to B&Bs. We have worked with the Virginia Department of Health to create the unique regulations just for B&Bs. We have worked with the Virginia ABC Office to craft specific rules for a B&B ABC License. Finally, we have worked with communities – and our neighbors – to develop equitable laws and regulations, and to insure that our businesses have a positive impact on our neighborhoods. And, as members of these communities, we have paid our fair share, because we share in the services and products provided.
(Expose and Clearly illustrate the problem)
Both B&B Owners and Airbnb Hosts provide accommodations for money. Many or most do so from their private homes. Both provide Beds, or Rooms, or whole House rentals for a Day, or a Week, full time or part time. Both use the revenue to augment income and to pay the mortgage. Both are, de-facto and de-jure, businesses - and Virginia REQUIRES that businesses register. There is no difference between Mayhurst and my wife and I, and an Airbnb facility and its Host! Why should the rules be different?
But Airbnb wants to create new terms and new rules that apply only to their listings. Why? Nothing has changed. Airbnb wants to hide the identity of their listings and owners from everyone. Why? Airbnb claims to be something unique because they are part of the “sharing economy”. So what - NOTHING is really different between an Airbnb facility and a Legal B&B? NOTHING!
“Sharing” is about working WITH other accommodation providers, the state and communities to develop equitable laws, codes and regulations that truly level the playing field. “Sharing” is not just about paying sales taxes.
“Sharing” is about obeying ALL the applicable laws and regulations, and paying ALL the applicable taxes and fees that support our communities. “Sharing” is not about picking or choosing the laws you want to follow, or redefining terms to avoid them, or about encouraging hosts to break the law by not requiring compliance with those laws.
“Sharing” is about working within each unique neighborhood fabric. “Sharing” is not about violating that environment by by-passing the input and rights of the people who live there!
(The desired outcome – rules, legislation- call to action)
If this committee really wants to come up with ground breaking legislation for this segment of the accommodations industry, then follow the recommendation that the Senate Majority Leader made in a letter to Delegate Peace last May, and let REAL B&B owners, and REAL Airbnb hosts, serve on this committee. We can come up with fair solutions because we understand the B&B BUSINESS. Virginia needs to get the Lawyers and Politicians out of the way because they don’t understand this Business.
Airbnb, and their hosts, need to stop trying to change everything and undermine local governments and communities. Airbnb Hosts need to get on-board and start enjoying running a BUSINESS in Virginia. “We the People” of Virginia, and not Airbnb, need to set the example for the entire country of how to do this the right way.
Brain Chesky, Airbnb CEO, recently spoke at the “Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech” meeting in Aspen, CO. In his remarks he said that we need to view “people as businesses” and that he now views governments and cities as “partners”. Great – then Airbnb needs to act like a real partner and its hosts need to act like the businesses they are.
END OF COMMENTS
VERMONT INN AND BED AND BREAKFAST ASSOCIATION
Action steps for our members for the 2017/2018 legislative season:
At our most recent VIBBA Educational meeting held on November 1, 2017 at the Brandon Inn, our members asked what action steps could we as members take to help level the playing field for short term rental properties. We recognize that the changes will not come through Vermont State Departments, (ie. Health, Fire Safety, Taxes, Tourism), only through legislative initiatives. To prepare for the upcoming legislative session we propose the following to our VIBBA members:
VIBBA Recommendations & Suggestions:
VIBBA – Vermont Inn and Bed & Breakfast Association – Tim Piper, President – November 27, 2017
VERMONT INN AND BED AND BREAKFAST ASSOCIATION
Position for Bill S- 204
The Vermont Inn and B&B Association is very pleased that the Vermont Legislature is taking a look at the unlicensed, short term rental challenges for our state. Bill S-204 is a good start. For the bill S-204, VIBBA has the following Recommendations & Suggestions.
Added Benefits of this Bill:
Affordable Housing: As has already been stated in the LCAR meetings, by applying these regulations and enforcing them some people renting unlicensed properties would return their properties back to long term rentals and apartments… thus increasing the supply and helping to minimize the affordable housing crisis in this State.
Respectfully Submitted, VIBBA – Vermont Inn and Bed & Breakfast Association – Tim Piper, President – February 7, 2017
SAMPLE LEGISLATION PASSED to Regulate Short-Term-Rentals
District of Columbia November 2018
The District of Columbia Council unanimously passed the Short-term Rental Regulation and Affordable Housing Protection Act . Thanks to the leadership of AHLA's local partner HAWDC, the bill that passed includes provisions that hold short-term rental platforms accountable for fostering illegal hotel activity in residential areas of the city, restricts nightly rentals to a host's primary residence and institutes a 90-day cap on rentals when that host is away from their primary residence. In preparation for the vote, the "It's Time DC" campaign was launched this September led by local coalition members including labor, community leaders and affordable housing groups. "It's Time DC" was in full swing leading up to the vote, and the effort has generated significant earned media, social media, digital ads and grassroots momentum.
Short-term Rental Proposals Advance - April 2018 (NOTE the platform accountability clauses)
In Los Angeles, comprehensive short-term rental legislation being shepherded by AHLA and our state partner CHLA took a critical step toward enactment. On April 10 the Los Angeles City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee unanimously endorsed the measure after the bill was amended to lower the cap to 120 days. The proposal mandates primary-residence, restricts activity on rent-controlled units, requires annual host registration, and adds platform accountability, a 24/7 complaint hotline, and a nightly fee to fund city enforcement. The bill now goes to the Housing Committee next week, with full Council approval expected in the following weeks.
Legislation is also moving forward in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Massachusetts has been actively debating legislation to address the growing flood of apartment conversions to short-term rental units throughout the state. The state House passed legislation that includes regulation and taxation on short-term rentals, while the Senate bill only addresses short-term rental taxation. The conference committee is now working out differences between the versions. AHLA is working with our state partner to support the House position.
In Pennsylvania, legislators are debating a bill that would require platforms to register with the state Department of Revenue for the collection, reporting and payment of the hotel occupancy tax; and on a quarterly basis, submit to the department an updated list of hosts and hotels doing business with the hosting platform. AHLA testified in support of the bill at an April 9 hearing of the House Tourism & Recreational Development Committee.
Virginia SB 1578; 2017 SESSION, PASSED 2-22-17 by Virginia House 86-14 vote)
full bill & definitions at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?171+sum+SB1578 .
1 VIRGINIA ACTS OF ASSEMBLY –– CHAPTER 2 An Act to amend and reenact §§ 4.1-100, as it is currently effective and as it shall become effective, and 3 4.1-200 of the Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Article 5 of 4 Chapter 9 of Title 15.2 a section numbered 15.2-983, relating to the short-term rental of property. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
8 1. That §§ 4.1-100, as it is currently effective and as it shall become effective, and 4.1-200 of the 9 Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted and that the Code of Virginia is amended by adding 10 in Article 5 of Chapter 9 of Title 15.2 a section numbered 15.2-983 as follows:
11 § 4.1-100. (Effective until July 1, 2018) Definitions.
"Bed and breakfast establishment" means any establishment (i) having no more than 15 bedrooms; 267 (ii) offering to the public, for compensation, transitory lodging or sleeping accommodations; and (iii) 268 offering at least one meal per day, which may but need not be breakfast, to each person to whom 269 overnight lodging is provided. For purposes of the licensing requirements of this title, "bed and 270 breakfast establishment" includes any property offered to the public for short-term rental, as that term is 271 defined in § 15.2-983, other than a hotel as defined in this section, regardless of whether a meal is 272 offered to each person to whom overnight lodging is provided.
§ 15.2-983. Creation of registry for short-term rental of property. 534 A. As used in this section: 535 "Operator" means the proprietor of any dwelling, lodging, or sleeping accommodations offered as a 536 short-term rental, whether in the capacity of owner, lessee, sublessee, mortgagee in possession, licensee, 537 or any other possessory capacity.
538 "Short-term rental" means the provision of a room or space that is suitable or intended for 539 occupancy for dwelling, sleeping, or lodging purposes, for a period of fewer than 30 consecutive days, 540 in exchange for a charge for the occupancy
Following engagement from AHLA and state partner WV Hospitality & Travel Association, the West Virginia Tax Department has released new guidance to clarify that houses, apartments, cabins, campsites, condominiums, rooms, and time-shares rented for less than 30 consecutive days are now subject to the same taxes as traditional lodging offered by hotels and inns. Short-term rental operators will be required to register their rentals as businesses with the state, subjecting them to business property tax rates. Along with recent guidance from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Principles for the Taxation of Online Travel Companies and Short-Term Rental Marketplaces, this guidance will serve as a model for other tax departments to follow.
Wisconsin Approves Statewide Short-term Rental Oversight ACT 59 SEPTEMBER 2017
After months of diligent effort by the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association, an AHLA partner association, new short-term rental oversight has been enacted as part of the Wisconsin state budget. With the new language signed into law in late September, residential dwelling short-term rentals in Wisconsin must now adhere to the following provisions:
POWER POINT PRESENTATION
Attached are several of the e-mails and letters that we (PAII, the Virginia B&B Association - Local Governments - Cities, Towns and Counties) sent to VA Legislators over a three week period. Virtually every legislator (House Delegate and Senator) received over 300 or more letters or e-mails and had their voice mails filled at least once during the three weeks. Many legislators, on key committees that were going to vote on the Airbnb Legislation, got many more messages and received personal visits from one or more of the groups that were working against the Airbnb Legislation. Finally, multiple speakers spoke against the Airbnb Legislation at every committee that was going to consider or vote on the Bill(s).
The effort was coordinated by VRLTA (they have paid lobbyists, we don’t) with very active participation from all the other groups, especially PAII and BBAV and Local Governments. It was absolutely essential that B&Bs were part of this effort as it instantly counters the Airbnb message that it is the giant hotel industry versus some poor Grandmother trying to make the mortgage payments by renting out a room through Airbnb. Getting B&Bs to participate helps send the message that it is the $25 Billion Dollar Airbnb Goliath that is beating up on the real (Legal) Mom and Pop B&Bs.
Finally, get the media involved. Initiate or respond to every article, letter to the editor, Facebook, twitter or blog post. Don't let any Airbnb favorable comment go unanswered.
In addition to the e-mails that provided information about Airbnb and the Bills and provided the rationale needed to vote against the Airbnb Legislation, there was a parallel campaign that flooded the legislators with every possible article that told the truth about Airbnb – like that they can’t be trusted and that there is a serious problem with safety and security at some Airbnb hosts. A few slides (from AH&LA) that show some of the headlines are also attached. You can just do a search on “Airbnb” to find a lot more.
Airbnb runs a very effective campaign that stresses how many millions in taxes they will collect for, and pay, the state. Not only does their approach hide the fact that the Airbnb Bill(s) clearly discriminate against Legal B&Bs, but it is a hard thing for the legislators to turn down the big check that is on the end of the hook – and that usually “hides” the “hook”. The “hook” iis the lack of transparency into who the hosts are, where they are, the fact that the Airbnb Hosts do not have to comply with Federal, State and Local Government Laws, Codes, Regulations or Ordinances, that Airbnb will never collect and pay all the taxes really due and that Local Governments will not be able to protect their citizens, and visitors, or enforce the Laws, Regulations, and Codes, or collect all the taxes and fees due (that Legal B&Bs have to pay) because they will have no visibility into what is happening in their communities.
The lopsided vote (90-8-1) in Virginia to send the Airbnb Bill back for additional study and to require transparency, is proof that once legislators are made aware of the inherent unfairness of the Airbnb approach, learn of the potential lack of safety and security for guests because Airbnb does not mandate compliance with Federal, State and Local Laws, Codes and Regulations, and recognize that local Governments have both a need and a right to protect their communities and collect appropriate taxes, that they will do the right thing for their states, just as they did for Virginia.
Another valuable point to “ask” your elected officials is: “Do you really want a third party, commercial company, which has had questions raised about their openness and trustworthiness[JN1] , to collect and pay your taxes.”
As you know PAII will be happy to assist you in your efforts, Contact Kris Ullmer at PAII.Org if you need anything firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks- To Senator or Delegate
To a Senator
E-mail after Finance Committee passed Airbnb Legislation
Airbnb Statement for for VA Legislature
Virginia has Spoken
IAM Position Statement
Letter to VA Senate Finance Committee
Message to Delegates (Appropriations)
Letter or E-mail to Legislator
Response to Letter to Editor
July 14, 2016 Report & Testimony: Virginia Airbnb Legislation Sub Committee Meeting (note: the testimony is a good example of how and what to present to a legislative body)