Renting your apartment through Airbnb is illegal in most of Philadelphia

We hate to rain on your Airbnb parade, but if you rent your apartment to tourists or vagabonds on the popular website, chances are it’s illegal.

There are only a few places in the city that are zoned to allow people to offer short-term rentals, Zack Seward of NewsWorks recently reported, and even if you live in these places, you must have a special short-term rental license. Yet the city has yet to prosecute anyone for renting his apartment through Airbnb, NewsWorks reported. Car service app people on demand Sidecarwhich recently expanded to Philadelphia, was not so lucky, as we reported.

Beyond that, remember that to operate a business in Philadelphia – any operation in which you exchange goods and services for money – you technically need a business lien license to operate legally because, of course, you would have to pay taxes on that income.

Read (or listen to) the whole NewsWorks story here.

And while we’re talking about renting out your place to strangers, here is a cautionary tale (more an update) from city ​​paper this illustrates how difficult it is to legally get someone out of your home once you’ve taken money from them (and they legally become a “renter”).

It may still be early in the pipeline of consumer web services that reduce friction in transactions so much that they run afoul of local regulations. Think about Govt. Tom Corbett strained relationship with eBay and sales tax, or how craigslist had more than a decade of community listings before a government listing the crackdown around her being a forum for unlicensed transactions.

Airbnb, Uber, Sidecar and others meet this fate now. At best, they are disruptions that are introduced into the mainstream to save us from outdated politics. At worst, it’s another impediment to innovation in our economy in a number of industries.


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