Charlottesville, Albemarle and AirBnB

Great story from Laura Ingles at C-Ville about the growing popularity of AirBnB. The question:

So what are local governments doing?

Airbnb isn’t just for big cities anymore, and neither is the controversy around it. Charlottesville and Albemarle County officials say they don’t plan to wipe out homestay arrangements, but they are interested in making sure renters are doing everything above board.

Take the time to read the whole thing.

And for a preview of how Charlottesville and other localities may react/respond to AirBnB, watch New York City:

Airbnb, which has already taken down 2,000 accommodation listings in New York from “bad actors,” agreed to warn all new and old hosts in the state that they may be breaking hotel laws.

For the next year, new New York hosts will now have to click through a screen informing them of New York short-term rental restrictions, and messages will be emailed to old hosts as well.

It says that apartments in buildings that have multiple dwellings can’t be rented unless a permanent occupant is present, no money is exchanged, or the stay is longer than 30 consecutive days. It lays out tax information, rent-control regulations, zoning codes and business-licensing rules.

“Lost” revenue aside, I would seek to apply my “don’t be a butthead” rule to the neighbor issue. If you let your space via AirBnB, don’t be a butthead and inconvenience your neighbors. Chances are, if their lives aren’t negatively affected by your making some money, they won’t raise a stink.

Just wait until Charlottesville gets Uber.

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  1. Mark May 22, 2014 at 08:21

    B&B owner: “Last time I looked at the website, there were 200-something listings on there. That’s real scary.”

    It’s scary because it’s competition, and will drive down prices, benefiting the consumer, aka the out-of-towners we’re trying to get to come and visit our “world-class city”. It will also benefits local homeowners who must find a way to pay their mortgages and ever-increasing tax bills.

    Leave it to the established businesses to lobby local government to make such competition illegal– and /or leave it to local government to dip their greedy beaks into the side business of local homeowners who already pay property taxes and the new stormwater tax. Government has no right to a cut.

    eBayers, freelancers, babysitters: you’re next!

    1. Justin May 26, 2014 at 13:36

      don’t blame the established companies for complaining about this. The prices are lower because the other services aren’t collecting or paying local taxes. If the local B&B decided they were going to stop collecting/paying taxes in order to compete, they would first have penalties and then the money would be taken directly out of their bank accounts by the city, county, state, and federal government. They would probably lobby local government to just drop the tax rates to 0 if they thought that had any chance of succeeding.

      1. Jim Duncan May 29, 2014 at 07:43

        That’s a great point, Justin. Maybe a certain threshold of income should be set, below which the AirBnB landlords don’t need to report?

  2. Pingback: Big AirBnB Changes Coming to Albemarle County? -

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