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Airbnb Will Accept Vermont's Proposed Short-Term Rental Legislation

A smartphone screen with a variety of travel app icons, including Airbnb in the center of the screen.
Airbnb, a company that facilitates home sharing, has said that they don't plan to fight proposed legislation that would require short-term rental hosts in Vermont to register with the state.

The nation’s largest short-term rental company says it won’t fight a bill that would make Vermont the first to require people who rent out their homes to register with the state.A Senate bill that proposes that people who use companies like Airbnb sign on to a statewide registry is now being debated in the House.

Airbnb attorney Andrew Kalloch says that while the bill isn’t perfect, it could be a good fit for Vermont.

“This registration system is not particularly onerous,” he says. “And provided that it is set up in a way that people can register online, and pay a nominal fee, we are generally comfortable with that.”

"This registration system is not particularly onerous. And provided that it is set up in a way that people can register online, and pay a nominal fee, we are generally comfortable with that." — Andrew Kalloch, Airbnb attorney

Airbnb submitted testimony to the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs on Wednesday.

Lawmakers are considering an annual $130 fee, and Kalloch says he would like to see that cost set below $100.

Airbnb is also asking lawmakers to clarify the health and safety requirements in the bill, and that if a statewide registry is adopted, towns could still amend their own rules to encourage short-term rentals.

“We understand there are public safety concerns that folks in Vermont have about home sharing, and that this bill is designed in part to address those concerns,” says Kalloch. “We just want to make sure that Airbnb users, and potential hosts throughout the state, don’t see home sharing as something that has hurdle after hurdle, but are rather encouraged to take part in the economic opportunity that home sharing provides.”

More from VPR — The Price Of Hospitality: Lawmakers Consider Registration Fee For Vermont Airbnb Hosts [Feb. 15]

The company says that the number of people who stayed in Vermont at an Airbnb rental increased by 63 percent last year.

Hosts in Vermont brought in more than $31 million in 2017, the company says, and about 227,000 people visited the state and stayed in an Airbnb rental.

Burlington was the leading community for Airbnb rentals, with approximately 37,000 visitors providing their hosts with about $4.4 million in revenue.

Rutland and Stowe were the second and third most popular Airbnb destination markets.

The state started collecting rooms and meals taxes from Airbnb in 2016, and through June 2017, about $2 million was paid to the state through Airbnb activity.

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state. 
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