Bill Strikes Balance Between Airbnb and Local Regulation

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in support of Senate Bill 1081, “Business Regulation – Limited Residential Lodging”, before the Senate Finance Committee on March 20, 2018.

SB 1081 ensures that limited residential lodging rentals are subject to local laws and regulation, and must also be registered with the Comptroller. Hosts of these rentals must also keep records to remain in good standing with the State. This legislation allows the industry to continue to thrive and provide services to the community, but also brings the industry in line with local and State regulations.

From MACo Testimony:

SB 1081 strikes a reasonable balance, ensuring communities can continue to benefit from short-term rentals without stifling the industry or putting people at risk. The bill establishes a state regulatory scheme that requires hosts and innkeepers to operate within the local laws of the jurisdictions in which they conduct rentals. Both must also be registered with the Comptroller. Record-keeping obligations for the platform ensure that the businesses remain in good standing with the State and that state and local officials have access to clear business data for regulatory and tax purposes.

Counties across the state have either enacted local laws or are in the process of deciding how to regulate short-term rentals. Local governments are best situated to address the specific needs of their diverse and distinct communities – particularly regarding public health, public safety, and zoning matters. Accordingly, the bill expressly protects the authority of local governments to enact local laws concerning the regulation of short-term rentals.

Counties believe SB 1081 balances the shared goals of a reasonable regulatory scheme for limited residential lodging that will both protect consumers and let the industry thrive.”

For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.