The Easton Town Council held a work session this week to discuss the regulation of short-term rentals such as those booked through Airbnb. Councilmember Al Silverstein brought the issue forward after a constituent complained about a neighbor who rents out his home.
As reported by The Star Democrat,
Silverstein called it a property rights issue, in that it’s essentially a commercial business that doesn’t have to jump through all the hoops that businesses in a commercial district have to, or pay the taxes that hotels and bonafide bed and breakfasts do. He said the neighbors of the short-term rental dwellings aren’t notified before the homeowner starts renting it.
But even if the council were to pass legislation that regulates short-term dwelling rentals, specifically those for vacations booked online, the greater question at the work session was how to enforce the law.
“This is going to be a mess to try and enforce,” said council president John Ford. One idea that came up during the work session is to make enforcement complaint driven.
Easton is not the only jurisdiction examining short-term rentals through Airbnb. As reported previously on Conduit Street, Baltimore City is exploring the possibility of imposing the City’s hotel tax to short-term online rentals like those that are booked through Airbnb and similar online booking services.