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    Vacation rental regulatory news for the week of April 1, 2018

    Regulatory Roundup

    Vacation rental regulatory news for the week of April 1, 2018

     

    Massachusetts

    Taxes on Boston’s short-term rentals move closer to reality

    From the Article: “The measure would extend the 5.7 percent state hotel tax to include short-term rentals — which have exploded in recent years, thanks to websites such as Airbnb — and allow cities and towns to levy taxes of their own. Lawmakers estimate the tax could raise $35 million for the state annually and about $25 million for local governments.”

    Takeaway: Massachusetts is one of the last U.S. States that does not apply lodging taxes to short-term rentals, including vacation homes, but that appears to be changing soon. The Massachusetts House has already passed their version of a tax bill that creates a strange multi-tier taxing scheme that will be overly burdensome and difficult to enforce. The Senate passed a much simpler tax scheme that would simply apply a 5.7% statewide tax on and allow localities to also place taxes on short-term rentals. The bills currently differ greatly and the two houses will need to work out their differences. Opponents of the bill argue that this will be devastating to the state’s tourism economy while proponents see the estimated $35 million as a necessary budget gap filler.

     

    Tennessee

    Senate Passes Bill Overturning Some Local Short-term Rental Bans in Tennessee

    From the Article: “After months of debate, the Senate passed a bill Thursday that would overturn a Nashville ordinance set to gradually eliminate certain types of short-term rentals, as well as similar prohibitions in other cities.

    The measure, which passed 24-5 in the upper chamber, will grandfather in existing non-owner-occupied short-term rentals originally permitted by city ordinances, thus allowing them to continue to operate. But an amendment to the bill prevents the owners from passing on the grandfather status to a new owner.”

    Takeaway: Originally introduced in February of 2017, this statewide standard bill lost a lot of traction as it moved through the house and senate as the year progressed. However, Nashville’s decision to phase-out non-owner occupied short-term rentals by 2020 reignited this debate.

    While the Senate voted overwhelmingly to place some limits on localities’ ability to ban short-term rentals, it did not protect the industry like states with similar laws (Florida, Arizona, Idaho, and Indiana). This bill attempts to find a balance between property rights and local control, but is very confusing and will be hard to enforce. The bill has yet to pass fully and there are some differences between the House and Senate versions. The two houses will need to compromise on a final version of the bill before we fully know the impact this will have on the state.

     

    Vermont

    An Act Relating to the Registration of Short-Term Rentals

    From the Bill: A Vermont House Committee heard testimony on S.204 on April 5th. This bill, which unanimously passed the Senate, would create a registration system, place safety requirements on rentals and provides a clear procedure for the application and payment of lodging taxes.

    Takeaway: VRMA supports S.204 and is encouraged with the effort Vermont legislators are taking to create a reasonable and enforceable short-term rental law. The registration and safety requirements are sensible and recognize the value of a professional property manager. In time this bill could be seen as a model for other states to follow.

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