Posted on September 14, 2016
Short-term rentals (STRs) are a growing reality in the hospitality/travel marketplace and, like our national/international DMO peers, Visit Baltimore is open to working with this community to better attract and accommodate a growing segment of leisure and business visitors. Thanks in part to the input of our membership, Visit Baltimore has been advocating that Baltimore city look at fair and relevant standards and processes for STR hosts providing overnight accommodations so as to ensure a safe and positive experience for visitors, and for our communities, as well as to ensure a level playing field for our traditional hotels and B&Bs. Occupancy taxes are an important piece of this puzzle – a fact increasingly embraced by the STR hosting community, including Airbnb.
On September 12, Council Bill 16-0737 Hotel Tax – Short Term Rentals and Hosting Intermediaries was introduced to the Baltimore City Council. It would amend the definition of "hotel" to include any building containing sleeping accommodations open to one or more transient guests and extends the hotel tax to certain transactions facilitated by hosting intermediaries. In short, this bill would enable the city to collect the 9.5% hotel tax remitted by consumers upon securing STR accommodations after July 1, 2017. It would also now apply the hotel tax to all B&B establishments, including those properties that may not have fallen under the previous definition of "hotel" based on five or more guests.
Council Bill 16-0737 is the first step in the city's efforts to create a regulatory environment that allows this popular practice to continue and to flourish here in Baltimore – benefiting our visitors and hosts alike – while also focusing responsibility and accountability among operators in such a way that levels the accommodations playing field. For more information, contact Allison Burr-Livingstone, AVP of Public Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.