State legislators are busy at work in the 2017 legislative session. VRMA is currently tracking 36 bills that could have an effect on the vacation rental industry. These bills range from the good to the bad and a lot in between. There are currently eight bills similar to Arizona Senate Bill 1350, which passed last year, that would prohibit communities from banning the practice of short-term renting. Those eight states with introduced preemption bills are: Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
Hawaii has been the busiest state when it comes to short-term rental legislation. Currently there are 10 bills that would affect hosting platforms, zoning law changes, data collections statutes and others. The two worst bills appear to be coming from Washington D.C. and Massachusetts. Washington D.C. effectively bans all short-term rentals in non-owner occupied homes. Massachusetts similarly wants to greatly restrict non-owner occupied rentals in addition to instituting a statewide transient occupancy tax that is currently not collected on vacation rentals.
Property taxes have also appeared as a topic of conversation. An interesting development is occurring in Missouri regarding property taxes and vacation rentals. Last year, the Camden County Assessor began changing assessments of vacation rental properties from a residential to commercial designation. This changed the values and rates of these properties causing very large increases in property tax bills. A bill has been introduced to clarify that vacation rentals are to be taxed at the residential rate not a commercial rate. This designation will assist in setting more precedent that vacation rentals are residential in nature and not commercial entities, which is noted in numerous court cases across the country.
You can follow these state issues and other issues by utilizing your access to the Advocacy Toolkit’s state and local tracking tools. In addition, you can express your support or concerns for issues in several states at the Advocacy Alert Center. If you are not in a state that we have alert for you can sign our short-term rental support petition instead.