airbnb Addresses Taxation. Covenants Next?

Disrupting industries comes with a cost.  For hotel disruptor airbnb, one of those costs has been increased scrutiny by local taxation authorities keen to recapture hotel taxes lost to users of the site.  It appears attention has begun to focus on “power users” who account for a great majority of airbnb revenues–much more than the occasional casual house-letter.

The site has responded to criticism by providing more transparency about its users and by announcing the following policy:

  1. We are committed to treating every city personally and helping ensure our community pays its fair share of hotel and tourist taxes.
  2. We are committed to being transparent with our data and information and we will help cities understand the home sharing activity in their community while simultaneously honoring our commitment to protect our hosts’ and guests’ privacy.
  3. In cities where there is a shortage of long-term housing, we are committed to working with our community to prevent short-term rentals from impacting the availability of long term housing by ensuring hosts agree to a policy of listing only  permanent homes on a short-term basis.
From the point of view of my clients who see “commercial-type” use in their neighborhoods in a few rare instances abusing the law and the assets of their community, it would be nice to see some attention given to people who abuse their residential status to run a bed and breakfast business in an association where no commercial use is permitted.
Perhaps differentiating between “casual users” and other users is the first step to getting associations back some protections from a residential home in an association being turned into a regular motel.

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