AH&LA Applauds Virginia Governor Enactment of Legislation to Study Impact of Short-term Rentals

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) applauded Governor McAuliffe’s signing of House Substitute SB 416. In the final days of the General Assembly, the Limited Residential Lodging Act was amended to include a detailed study of short-term rental companies, like Airbnb, as well as increased accountability and enforcement.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) applauded Governor McAuliffe’s signing of House Substitute SB 416. In the final days of the General Assembly, the Limited Residential Lodging Act was amended to include a detailed study of short-term rental companies, like Airbnb, as well as increased accountability and enforcement.

The House Substitute that was passed on March 2 included language requiring short-term rental platforms to register with the Virginia Department of Taxation. Additionally, the bill allows local governments to create a registry of these rental properties, to ensure basic public safety protections and zoning enforcement and removes the veil of secrecy originally sought by Airbnb around the legally-required tax payments by these properties.

“Governor McAuliffe’s signing of this important legislation is a victory for Virginia’s small inns and bed and breakfast establishments, consumers and communities,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AH&LA. “We’ve seen in cities across the country the proliferation of illegal hotels run by commercial operators who use the site to rent out multiple residential properties year-round, just like a hotel, while avoiding taxes, zoning guidelines, and health and safety regulations. We believe that all lodging businesses should play by the same rules to ensure neighborhoods are not disrupted by unregulated commercial activity and remain safe and secure. Cities and towns must have the ability to deal with the challenges posed by short-term rentals. We look forward to working with the Virginia Housing Commission as they examine this critical issue in the coming months.”

“Governor McAuliffe’s signature on this House Substitute SB 416 is an important milestone to Virginia,” said Eric Terry, president of VRLTA. “With similar legislation being pushed by Airbnb in other states, Governments across the country now have an example to draw from that codifies commonsense legislation on an industry that is rapidly expanding.”

With Gov. McAuliffe’s signature today the bill is enacted, and the Virginia Housing Commission will begin an in-depth study of this industry. The final report will be completed by December 1, 2016, to the General Assembly, which will then review the information and reconsider the legislation for reenactment during the 2016 General Assembly Session.