Texas Governor and Airbnb Provide Breaks in Wake of Hurricane Harvey
- Aug 29, 2017 | MyLodgeTax
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Texas, relief efforts are affecting the vacation rental industry. The state is providing tax relief, and additional help is being offered by the vacation rental industry itself.
State provides disaster relief
Governor Greg Abbott has suspended all Texas state and local hotel and motel occupancy tax for people displaced from their homes, as well as emergency and relief-effort personnel. These taxes will be suspended through September 6th, two weeks after Gov. Abbott issued his Aug. 23 proclamation declaring Texas under threat of “imminent disaster.”
Federal officials predict the storm “will drive 30,000 people into shelters,” though that number could increase if the rain continues. As a result, Gov. Abbot said Aug. 25 that “Hurricane Harvey is creating a temporary housing emergency in the state of Texas.”
The state has a duty to provide “as much relief as possible to the victims, first responders, and relief-effort personnel of this terrible storm,” says the governor. “Reducing the cost of hotel accommodations is one part of that process. Those who have taken safety precautions by evacuating need not to be struggling with the cost of shelter during this already difficult time.”
Airbnb provides disaster relief
Airbnb also recently announced special Hurricane Harvey disaster relief considerations: It’s waiving all service fees “for those affected by the disaster and checking in between August 23, 2017 and September 25, 2017.” Airbnb has also launched a dedicated site for the program that not only allows those in need of housing to find accommodations, but also provides a simple way for hosts to offer their properties.
These are just two examples of how Texas and the vacation rental industry are offering assistance as the hurricane continues to cause unprecedented flooding throughout southeast Texas. Before this is over, more help will be needed from all fronts. Recovery is expected to take years. Brock Long of FEMA says the region is facing “one of the largest housing-recovery missions the nation has ever seen.”