The debate on property owners’ rights, local economic growth, neighborhood disruptions, and diminished affordable housing opportunities wages on in the news. These latest regulatory activities caught our attention.
France has required Airbnb to supply local governments with rental data on the type of housing being offered, the number of guests and hosts’ names and addresses. The law took effect Dec 2019. So far, Paris and Bordeaux have requested data.
Additionally, Airbnb is under deadline this week to send rental revenue data as part of a French law that requires marketplaces to share user revenue and other information. The aim is to detect tax avoidance by comparing those reported by Airbnb and those by the hosts. France is Airbnb’s largest market outside of the U.S., estimated to generate over $2 billion in bookings in 2019.
France has been battling tech companies for more data and revenues. A tax on ‘digital giants’ targets large tech companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. It was suspended last week, after being enforced last year, as Macron tried to defuse President Trump’s threats on tariffs for French wine and cheese. Airbnb said it paid taxes between 5 million euros ($5.5 million) to 10 million euros before the freeze.
Las Vegas Airbnb bookings in 2019 were up 19% and brought in revenues of $138 million, up from $100 million in 2018, despite short term rental regulations. The Las Vegas City Council requires an annual $500 licensing fee and a monthly hotel tax for primary residences. Meanwhile, in neighboring Henderson, the City Council approved short-term rentals in residential areas last year but requires an $820 annual licensing fee. La Vegas County has cracked down on 1,000 STR violations and issued $900,000 in fines.
Columbus now requires state criminal background checks for short term rental hosts on any of the online platforms as part of their licensing process. Background checks would be required for the host, the property’s 24-hour emergency contact and property manager. Previously, only hosts who didn’t have background checks through their hosting platform needed to get one with the city.
Boston and now its suburbs are following the city’s lead and regulating short term rentals. The city’s inner suburbs – Quincy, Milton, Brookline, Revere, and Everett – are expected to introduce legislation in the upcoming weeks and months. Other suburbs like Somerville, Cambridge, and Newton, already have regulations which limit listings to owner-occupied units or apartments on the same property. Airbnb announced that it had 1.3 million bookings, generating up to $284.4 million, in Massachusetts in 2019.
Short term rentals in the Boston region grew by 7% to 7,441 in 2019 from 2018 despite recent regulations. After several months of rollout, Boston’s short term rental rules went into full effect on December 1. Cambridge put in place regulations in 2017, which also subject properties to safety inspections.
Long Beach will allow 1,000 unhosted units in the city. A person would not have to be a resident to be a host, but those that do will be able to have three units in the city; non-residents would be limited to two units. Long Beach residents would be able to use their primary home as the third short term rental unit but would be limited to renting out the entire home for 90 days per year.
This is not a done deal yet since the ordinance will have to get approval from the California Coastal Commission. Then, it would go into effect after 180 days. Over the last eight months of 2019, the city collected $1.8 million in short term rental taxes.