Short-term rentals provide tangible benefits to providers, residents, travelers, businesses, and the local community. As such, it is important to ensure that communities develop smart regulations for governing short-term rentals that establish safeguards for both providers and travelers, alleviate neighborhood concerns, and offer a framework that promotes compliance.
By definition, a short-term rental is a property that is rented for less that 30 consecutive days. And while the ability to locate short-term rentals online has made them more accessible and affordable.
Because technology has made is possible for travelers and providers to connect, the growing popularity of short-term rentals was inevitable. Remember, travelers have been utilizing short-term rentals in some areas of the country for more than a hundred years. As short-term rentals grow in popularity among travelers, policymakers should embrace the wonderful opportunity they present by formalizing and legalizing short-term rentals as accommodations.
In crafting short-term rental regulation, it’s important that policymakers recognize the value of short-term rentals in providing flexible housing, and legalize and formalize short-term rentals as a unique and valuable alternative for travelers. They also need to recognize that short-term rentals are a non-commercial activity, governed by the same or similar guidelines and laws as those governing long-term residential rental properties, including the absence of additional laws or ordinances for dealing with nuisance issues already covered under existing municipal and city codes. Under any regulations, all short-term rentals should be treated the same, without differentiations between residency, use, advertising or booking platforms or business models, and that if fees associated with licensing or permitting are part of the local regulation, ensuring they are manageable goes a long way to encouraging compliance.
Most importantly, successful short-term rental regulations should be developed through an open and transparent dialogue between you, as a provider, policymakers, industry stakeholders, and the entire community.
United States Conference of Mayors Support for Vacation Rentals
On Thursday 6/14/12, this resolution unanimously passed the US Conference of Mayors Community Development and Housing Committee. On Saturday 6/16/12, it unanimously passed a vote of the full conference and is now the USCM policy.
PROMOTION OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE VISITORS INDUSTRY
WHEREAS, communities throughout the United States rely on local hotel taxes to promote travel and tourism and support the local visitors industry; and
WHEREAS, local hotel taxes often fund convention and visitors bureaus, convention centers, sports arenas and sports teams; and
WHEREAS, local hotel taxes often support local cultural programs including music, film, gaming, visual arts, dance and more; and
WHEREAS, short-term rental of homes can often be subject to hotel taxes; and
WHEREAS, short-term rental of homes can provide a flexible housing stock that allows family travelers spending longer periods of time in a community a safe accommodation while contributing to the local economy; and
WHEREAS, short-term rental of homes can provide homeowners an opportunity to hold property as an investment, for a better sales market, or for future planning; and
WHEREAS, fair regulation of short-term rentals ensures greater compliance and greater receipt of local hotel taxes; and
WHEREAS, regulations of short-term rentals that establish a reliable way for a municipality to identify and contact the short-term rental owner, make the tax collection and remittance obligation clear and treat the short-term rental owner the same as long-term rental owners can achieve the highest level of compliance; and
WHEREAS, onerous regulations of short-term rentals can drive the industry underground, thus evading local regulations and local hotel taxes;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges support for economic development opportunities through the visitors industry by encouraging regulations of the short-term rental industry that (1) establish a reliable way for the municipality to identify and contact the short-term rental owner; (2) make the tax collection and remittance obligations clear to the short-term rental owner; and (3) treat short-term rental tenants the same as long-term rental tenants. Regulations that accomplish all three can achieve a high level of compliance, and are highly effective.