How will changes to short-term rental rules and regulations affect your business in 2017?
Contingent on your location and other factors you may not see any regulations at all. The general state of local regulations has been trending towards banning or strictly limiting non-owner occupied homes and allowing for homesharing. Urban areas first began to push these types of rules and they are now being propagated even in rural areas. You can be assured to see further attempts to limit non-owner occupied rentals, especially in more urbanized areas, throughout 2017.
State regulations may start developing at a faster pace in 2017. There are state legislative efforts underway to stop communities’ from banning short-term rentals and severely limit the number of rental days. This concept is cohesive with rules related to other statewide lodging markets. You will also see states clarify their occupancy/lodging tax rules to ensure that vacation rentals and other short-term rental models are treated the same way as hotel stays.
There is no indication that there will be any significant regulatory changes affecting vacation rentals in 2017. There is expected to be federal tax reform efforts that could affect your business and property owners (for the better or worse).
There is still a lot of uncertainty over what role the federal government could or should play in short-term rental regulations. It does seem clear that last year’s effort to investigate the industry has been silenced for the time being.
The federal courts could also play a role in 2017. There are several federal cases that invoke claims of business discrimination, the interstate commerce act, due process, and privacy law. Rulings on these matters could potentially be very helpful in crafting sensible rules in communities across the U.S.
Internationally, the outlook on short-term rental regulations is mixed. Major urban areas in Canada and Europe are following the U.S. trend of banning non-owner occupied units from renting. In Europe, we have seen outright bans of all short-term rentals in several larger cities. It does not appear that 2017 will be the year for major rule changes in those cities that have already banned or severely restricted rentals. It does appear that Australia and New Zealand have a more open outlook on short-term renting and are working towards rules that are sensible and include the industry in conversations.