Philadelphia cracks down on Airbnbs and short-term rentals in 2023

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The new year brings new regulations for Philadelphia Airbnbs and other short-term rentals.

Why is it important: The rule changes are expected to reduce the number of vacation property rentals.

  • Previous short-term rental rules were rarely enforced in Philadelphia, and many rentals operated illegally, according to the city.

What is happening: The new short-term rental regulations, which came into force on January 1, build on rules that have been in place since 2015.

  • The changes include requiring tenant hosts who live in their units to obtain a limited hosting license. Although relatively inexpensive, license applicants must ensure that their unit complies with applicable code and zoning regulations, among other new requirements.
  • Booking sites such as Airbnb will help with enforcement by requiring operators to provide proof of license, council member Mark Squilla, lead sponsor of the legislation, told Axios.

Rollback: The city delayed bringing the regulations, passed in 2021, into effect last year because a “large percentage” of short-term rental operators failed to obtain a permit, the city told Axios Joy Huertas, spokeswoman for the Kenney administration.

By the numbers: The city issued 276 limited lodging licenses last week, according to the administration.

  • Under previous rules, the city issued fewer than 50 short-term rental permits with a permanent tenant between 2015 and 2021.

What they say : The change worries some short-term rental companies.

  • “I don’t know how I’m going to be able to live, and it leaves us with very little time to figure out how to pivot,” Angela Romero, who rents two units in East Kensington where she lives, told the Investigator.

Squilla said the new regulations will “initially reduce the number” of short-term rentals operating in the city, but they will help ensure bad actors are held accountable in the long run.

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