New York State May Regulate Short-Term Rentals | News, Sports, Jobs

State Senator Michelle Hinchey, D-Kingston, is pictured speaking during a public appearance. Photo submitted

Owners of short-term rentals may consider additional state monitoring and tax collection.

State Senator Michelle Hinchey, D-Kingston, introduced legislation (S.885) to create a registration system for short-term rentals in New York State and allow the collection of sales taxes and occupancy generated by rentals by the state and local municipalities.

Short-term rentals have been a topic of discussion by Chautauqua County city and town board members in recent years, with some towns having put moratoria in place on new short-term rentals. In Chautauqua County, all short-term rentals — including hotels, motels, and private rentals — are subject to the county’s 5% occupancy tax. According to Liz DeBold Fusco of Western New York Airbnb, in 2019, 15,400 guests in Chautauqua County used Airbnb, generating $2.1 million for their hosts. This would mean Airbnb properties would have had to pay $105,000 in occupancy tax. In 2019, the county raised $1,859,175, up $116,844 from the previous year. However, county officials said the bulk of revenue came from large hotels and motels.

“Municipalities need better tools to understand how this economic engine can help, without displacing local residents and compounding an already growing problem in the name of profit. Additionally, many of these same municipalities have been forced to spend significant resources managing their short-term rental issues, often leaving neighboring towns with different regulations. This confuses property owners, visitors and law enforcement and forces municipalities to spend resources they often don’t have to protect their residents. This legislation, for the first time, develops statewide guidelines on short-term rentals, including a rental registry, to give municipalities the information and revenue they need to take smart decisions to help resize the short-term rental market in their specific communities.

Hinchey’s legislation would impose several standards on the short-term rental industry, including requiring emergency evacuation plans; emergency phone numbers for area fire and police departments as well as poison control; a working fire extinguisher; and insurance covering the value of the dwelling as well as coverage of at least $300,000 for third-party claims arising from the operation of the short-term rental.

Short-term rental hosts would be required to keep guest records for at least two years, including the date of each stay, the number of guests, the cost of each stay – including taxes – and guest records. ‘registration. Owners of short-term rentals would also have to register with the state Department of State, which would share records with county, city, town or village governments upon request.

Reservation services would also be required to maintain similar information and would not be able to collect fees to facilitate reservation transactions unless the short-term rental unit and its owner or tenant have national or local registration. . Booking services that fail to comply could be fined $200 per violation. Anyone who operates a short-term rental unit and fails to register could face a fine of $200 per day.

“New York State faces a severe housing shortage, especially affordable housing and workforce housing, which is causing instability in our communities,” Hinchey wrote. “While solving the housing crisis will require significant investment and bold legislative action, one area of ​​housing policy that needs to be addressed is the extreme proliferation of short-term rentals. Upstate New York municipalities have seen a record influx of relocated residents and visitors, with Hudson and Kingston becoming the top two moving locations in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, the ability to accommodate short-term visitors has been a welcome source of income, and for our small towns and villages, increased tourism has boosted their economies. However, while this resurgence has played an important and unforeseen role in sustaining our main streets and providing additional sources of income for local residents, it has also rendered an already precarious housing market almost non-existent and has since transformed a good holiday housing stock. rentals taking these homes off the market indefinitely.

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