New England Town Airbnb welcomes Balk to new fee

(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Freedom doesn’t come free, but neither does the tedious task of monitoring short-term rentals.

To cover the cost of monitoring short-term rental sites such as Airbnb, the Great Barrington, Massachusetts board of directors approved a measure requiring hosts, despite their objections, to pay an annual listing fee $200, according to the Berkshire Eagle.

The funds, officials say, will pay for city staff time as well as monitoring software, which currently cost $18,000 a year, and will grow 7% over the next two years, the outlet reported. . ‘

The select committee approved the $200 fee by a vote of 3 to 1, with one abstention. The council member behind the only dissenting vote wanted the fee to be $250.

But hosts say the fees are just one more in a series of expenses — including state and local taxes, as well as property maintenance — and limitations that erode profits.

“It’s just, wow,” resident Maureen Meier told the board, according to the Eagle. “You have already limited the number of nights I can do, limited the overall money I can bring in and now I feel like you are planning to add too many.”

She said if she generated $30,000 from her Airbnb listing, she would have to pay $4,400 in local and state taxes and short-term rental fees, in addition to $4,500 in property taxes. Now she has to pay a new $200 fee on top of everything else.

Board member Ed Abrahams, who was at the center of a debate on whether he should recuse himself because his domestic partner is renting out his house, told the outlet his problem was adding another layer of bureaucracy.

“They assume that people make a lot of money [hosting]Abrahams said, according to the Eagle. “My bias on all of this is that I don’t understand why we’re doing the taping. The state is already doing it. We have created a bureaucracy and are now charging people money to pay for something we don’t need to do.

The debate in Great Barrington over how or whether to regulate, track and tax short-term rentals echoes one taking place across the country. Some say they should be able to rent out their property without government interference, while others say short-term rentals are too damaging to the hospitality industry, create public safety issues and encourage investment in properties. in the midst of a housing crisis.

Most regulations take place at the local level, including one that took effect on January 1 in Philadelphia.

However, New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey recently introduces the Short-Term Rental Registry Actwhich, if passed, would help municipalities regulate short-term rentals.

The bill would create a statewide registry, operated by the Department of State. Landlords would be required to register rental units every two years or face daily fines of $200. Registries can facilitate the enforcement of illegal tenancies.

Airbnb provided a relatively cool response to the proposed measure.

“We have worked closely with dozens of communities across the state, and as people continue to deal with the rising cost of living, we are committed to promoting responsible lodging that helps the economy. local community,” spokesperson Haven Thorn said in a statement.

—Ted Glanzer


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