Airbnb Changes in Virginia
It has become a popular trend. If you have a spare room in your house or an empty apartment, you can rent it out on Airbnb. If this is you, maybe you have only needed to worry about getting good ratings online. Very soon, however, you might have more to worry about.
Customers love Airbnb because it gives them the feeling of home comforts while they are traveling. The Airbnb website itself promotes experiencing “a city like a local.” Staying in a one-size-fits-all hotel might not promote the local flavors of architecture like someone else’s home or apartment.
Sometimes, it is the only option. For example, in a college town, the beginning and the end of the academic years are busy times. Those towns swell with people as parents help their new college student-children move in; they swell again when crowds of families return to celebrate their graduations. The hotels are sometimes booked years in advance. What do you do in those situations? Go private.
The Airbnb Controversy:
It might also be cost-efficient. The pricing is often based on the accommodations. If you are paying for a spare room in a basement, it might be perfectly suitable for your traveling needs. It will also be cheaper than a full-scale hotel room with all the amenities.
Governments hate Airbnb, though. Governments, especially local governments, fill their financial coffers with lodging taxes from the rental of hotel rooms. Have you ever noticed, when you stay in a hotel, how much more you actually pay from the promoted rate? All that extra money is going somewhere – usually to state or local governments in the form of taxes.
Depending on the location, when people rent out a room on Airbnb, they are staying away from most of those taxes. Because it is a private transaction between two citizens, those lodging taxes are normally avoided and, therefore, unpaid.
As Airbnb maintains its popularity, however, and governments start to wake up to it, things are changing.
Virginia’s General Assembly has sent new legislation to Governor Terry McAuliffe that would require a registration from people who want to rent out their homes or apartments on Airbnb. Associated with this registration process would, of course, be a registration fee. If you do not register your home with the Commonwealth, you would pay a fine.
To some, this feels like an overreaching action from a greedy government. To hotels and actual B&B’s (bed and breakfasts), this feels necessary to level the playing field. Regardless of how you feel about this legislation, you need to pay attention, especially if you are renting out space on Airbnb. In time, you might find yourself acting illegally without realizing it.
Regardless of whether you are facing small fines or even jail time, you should find a good lawyer who is staying on top of all laws, large and small, to represent you. If you are in need, call or e-mail today for a free consultation!
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