Expert: vacation rental charges a “Trojan horse”

A move to restrict short-term rentals, collect millions of dollars in lost accommodation taxes, protect neighborhoods and preserve affordable housing is a “Trojan horse” according to an expert who says the housing giant. Airbnb vacation rental drives the effort.

The measure, which targets Clark County only, “would give Airbnb permission to make more money with the STR industry and have more control over STR hosts in Nevada,” says Julie Davies, educator and host vacation rental. “This real intention is shrouded in false standards which seem strict but which cannot be enforced.”

“As Kleenex is synonymous with fabrics, Airbnb is synonymous with short-term rentals,” said the sponsor of the bill, MP Rochelle Nguyen, as she presented the bill to the Assembly’s revenue committee. last week. Nguyen says the measure “came from my own personal experience.”

She says she and her multigenerational family prefer vacation homes to hotels. She also lives near downtown Las Vegas, where a shortage of HOAs and gated communities makes neighborhoods “ripe for RTS,” she says.

“I don’t want my neighborhood to become a series of mini-hotels,” Nguyen told her colleagues as she presented the bill last week to the assembly’s revenue committee.

But Davies says AB 363 “is a dream bill for ‘no rules’ advocates” who will use what she calls vague language to evade enforcement.

“This bill is a first step towards legalizing short-term rentals statewide, which includes tax collection and licensing requirements,” an Airbnb said. website.

The legislation reflects measures supported by Airbnb and the right-wing organization Americans for Prosperity in legislatures across the country in recent years.

A proposal under consideration in Maine sayss municipalities “cannot adopt or enforce an ordinance, rule or ordinance prohibiting the rental of short-term rental accommodation through a transitional rental platform”.

A bill that died last week in Florida “… would have pre-empted all vacation rental regulations in the state, including the inspection and licensing of vacation rentals,” according to one. legislative update of the Florida League of Cities. “The (amended) bill would have protected existing vacation rental regulations but would prevent cities from specifically regulating advertising platforms.”

Proponents argue that millions of dollars in temporary accommodation tax are lost each year due to Clark County’s lack of regulation, preventing platforms like Airbnb from collecting taxes from “illegal” operators.

“I don’t believe the bans work,” Nguyen told lawmakers. “I want to make sure that counties and cities can’t ban them.”

Nguyen declined to comment before the hearing and did not respond to questions submitted by Current Monday.

Clark County estimates that 6,000 short-term rentals are in operation in unincorporated areas. Licensing them would require five additional fire inspectors and a deputy fire marshal. Enforcement of the code and commercial license would require a total of 13 new employees. The estimated cost of salaries, benefits and equipment is some $ 3.5 million for each biennium, according to a tax memo submitted by Clark County.

Entire home vacation rentals are permitted in Washoe County, Henderson and North Las Vegas. In the city of Las Vegas, the property must also be owner occupied, in keeping with a traditional bed and breakfast.

“The hosts want to end the ban. Opponents want to hear about regulation, ”Davies says. “The Trojan horse is all the bad things inside the bill.”

The measure instructs platforms such as Airbnb to collect and remit the transitional accommodation tax on a quarterly basis, allowing the company to use the money in the interim. Individual hosts are required to declare and pay taxes monthly.

They will earn millions of dollars from the ability to collect and hold taxes. Airbnb is an online booking provider, ”says Davies. “He’s not a property manager, so he shouldn’t be paying taxes.”

Davies says making the business owner ultimately responsible for collecting and paying taxes is “one of the best enforcement tools there is.” The bill relieves the owner of this responsibility. Additionally, she says Airbnb doesn’t provide its hosts with any accounting for what it charges customers or pays in taxes.

The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Strange bedfellows

The bill would ban DOS within 2,500 feet of hotels.

However, Nguyen said “multi-family dwellings” in the resort corridor are “excluded” from the distance requirement.

The Nevada Resort Association, which has long opposed STRs, supports the regulation and taxation of “these business operations in the same way as other public accommodation establishments,” said President Virginia Valentine.

“Why would the Nevada Resort Association want to put in place something that would feed illegal operators? Davies asked rhetorically.

Deputy David Orentlicher questioned the wisdom of banning DOS in the resort hallway.

“I understand why, if you’re a seaside resort, you don’t like competition,” he observed.

STRs in neighborhoods should be 500 feet apart. Currently registered properties would benefit from acquired rights, regardless of their proximity. A modified version of the invoice limits the occupancy to 16 people. The original version allowed two guests per room, not per room.

The measure imposes a minimum of two nights on all bookings in order to discourage so-called “party house” bookings.

“We have to hold the owners accountable when they rent out these properties,” Nguyen said.

Airbnb’s Adam Thongsavat testified against the measure because of the minimum stay and distance separations from resorts and between homes. He pledged Airbnb’s support if those provisions are removed.

Nguyen said the current patchwork of regulations in southern Nevada was confusing for “those looking to invest in STRs or even stay in STRs.”

Nguyen also said the bill would “protect Nevadans from the rising housing costs associated with STRs.”

“What we were trying to curb is like this proliferation of short-term rentals,” she said.

The AB 363 is intended to protect workers, according to Nguyen, such as members of the Culinary Union, which has also long opposed STRs but has testified in favor of the measure.

Culinary official Jim Sullivan said the bill should place restrictions on homeowners and other investors and limit the number of people or businesses who can own.

But the bill requires owners of multiple STRs not to own more than five properties under one business name. It does nothing to limit ownership.

Nguyen said he learned that multinational companies “were coming and buying hundreds of properties under one name. I think there is one of those companies that has more than 250 companies in an area of ​​our state. ”

She said limiting individual companies to five properties is “a big enough problem” to deter investors from taking over multiple properties.

The cost of incorporation is minimal in Nevada, as are the annual renewal and business license costs of $ 325. Renting an RTS overnight can net the host thousands of dollars.

MP Venicia Consadine said she opposed the measure because it would have a disproportionate impact on low-income areas that do not have HOAs to prevent STRs from functioning.

The committee made no decision on the bill.

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