Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s administration plans to do a study of the state’s short-term rental properties, such as those hosted by Airbnb, to see if they are negatively affecting the state’s lodging industry.
Last year legislators approved a law that let short-term rental hosts self-regulate their properties, Vermont Public Radio reported. But hotels and inns say it’s unfair that home-sharing owners do not have to follow the same health and fire safety regulations that they do.
“The industry has spoken to the Legislature and they think that the law that passed last year didn’t go far enough,” said state Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing Wendy Knight, who announced the plans on Feb. 5. “So their concern is that there’s not a level playing field.”
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce says short-term rentals should be regulated like other lodging businesses.
“The Vermont Chamber supports additional legislation that will require all short-term rentals to register and pay the required per person lodging fee with the state; acquire a rooms & meals tax id number per the current law, be self-certified and agree to an inspection,” Ronda Berns, the chamber’s vice president of tourism, wrote to lawmakers earlier this month. “These measures are all aimed to protect the Vermont short term hosts, the traveling public and the Vermont brand.”
Knight said the study will count how many short-term rental properties are owner occupied and determine which properties are primary residences verses non-primary residences.
“We think that the multiple-unit properties that are being run as Airbnbs, perhaps those need to be looked at to be brought into the regulations that exist for the lodging establishment,” she said.
A spokesman for Airbnb declined to comment, saying he will wait until new legislation is proposed.