AH&LA Applauds Legislation in Virginia to Rein In the Rise of Commercial Operators in the Short-Term Rental Marketplace

Published on : Friday, March 4, 2016

AHLAThe American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) applauded the Virginia Senate’s passage of the SB 416. The Limited Residential Lodging Act was amended in recent days to ensure a thoughtful study of this important issue over the coming months before any legislation is enacted. The bill, which now goes to Gov. Terry McAuliffe for consideration, had in its original form codified the preferred collection method of Airbnb while preempting local governments from further regulation of the short-term rental platform’s business model.

“Yesterday was a victory for Virginia’s small inns and bed and breakfast establishments, consumers and communities,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AH&LA. “Indeed, as our research has shown, short-term rental companies like Airbnb are facilitating an explosion of commercial operators who are renting units year-round and essentially operating full-time hotels without abiding by important safety and security standards as well as zoning regulations, all put in place to protect guests and safeguard communities. That’s why today’s decision by the Virginia General Assembly is so important. It allows for thoughtful study of the issue – with all stakeholders involved – and ensures that cities and towns are empowered to deal with the challenges posed by short-term rentals, which is fundamental to protecting neighborhoods and their residents. And they are counting on us to get it right.”

“We are very thankful to the Virginia House for amending Airbnb’s preferred legislation before approving the Senate Bill,” said Eric Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association. “With Airbnb’s efforts to push similar bills across the country, the implications of this legislation go far beyond the confines of Virginia. We are happy to see our state at the forefront of regulating a new player in the lodging sector.”

The Substitute Bill will now be given to Governor Terry McAuliffe for a final signature and enactment. The Virginia Housing Commission will conduct an in-depth study on Airbnb and the short-term online rental market. Under the advisement of a panel of lodging, short-term online rental companies and their users, and others, will be completed by December 1, 2016. The study will be reviewed by the General Assembly, and the legislation will be reviewed and reenacted during the 2017 General Assembly Session.

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