Local Governments Leading Airbnb Regulation Efforts

Aug 2, 2016

As state leaders argue over how to craft regulations overseeing Airbnb, local governments are moving forward with their own rules. 

Elected leaders in Virginia Beach are considering a proposal that would allow the city to issue fines and penalties to homeowners who rent out their houses through Airbnb but fail to fork over the lodging tax. That would be the vast majority of them, according to Commissioner of Revenue Phillip Kellam. He says the law already requires them to pay the tax.

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“It’s in place. It’s just technically it’s not easily enforceable right now because Airbnb is not coming forward. In fact, they’re being indifferent about it."

Charlottesville requires homeowners to be present during the rental, but a check of the Airbnb site shows entire houses for rent in violation of that restriction. And Richmond has explicitly forbidden the business, but hundreds of rooms and homes are available right now in violation of city code. Jillian Irvin of Airbnb says all those local rules and prohibitions; that’s not Airbnb’s problem. 

“It’s not incumbent upon Airbnb and it’s not something that Airbnb is looking into whether or not they are in compliance with the certain regulations. That’s incumbent on the actual citizen who lives here."

A statewide commission is currently researching the problem and expected to issue recommendations to the General Assembly by December.