October 11, 2017 11:26 AM
New regulations for short term rental services, like Airbnb, could be finalized by city leaders in St. Paul Wednesday.
The discussion comes just months ahead of the Super Bowl, as many homeowners consider renting out rooms.
If you ask some business owners, the new regulations would level the playing field with fees and taxes.
However, some hosts argue they are not making as much as they should be renting out rooms. In fact, during a public hearing last week, some said using sites like Airbnb simply help them afford living in their own homes.
"I implore you to have sensitivity for hosts who share their home at cost," one meeting attendee said. "I am not running a business for profit. I consider my Airbnb guests like roommates whose rent helps pay the mortgage and property taxes."
Under proposed ordinances, hosts would be subject to a $70 licensing fee, sales tax, lodging tax and establishing limits on just how many units are legally rentable at a given time. Even restrictions on parking could be made through the ordinances under consideration by the council.
While some hosts feel the regulations would be too burdensome, others say the short-term rental platforms aren't paying their fair share under the proposals. For example, a license for a company like Airbnb or VRBO would be $7,000.
"Airbnb is a $31 billion valuation business and we're going to give away the keys to this kingdom for $7,000?," one public hearing attendee asked.
The city council will take another look at the proposed ordinances Wednesday afternoon.
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Updated: October 11, 2017 11:26 AM
Created: October 11, 2017 05:58 AM
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