Columbus, Ohio, to begin regulating and taxing Airbnbs
- Aug 14, 2018 | Jennifer Sokolowsky
The Columbus City Council has voted to pass a new law to regulate short-term vacation rentals.
Starting January 1, 2019, the new ordinance will require short-term rental hosts to apply for a permit in order to operate. They must display their permit numbers in any advertising; provide contact information for rental properties; keep four years’ worth of records that show guest names, room rates, and the dates and durations of stays; and carry a liability insurance policy of at least $300,000.
Part of the fees charged for short-term rental permits will go toward affordable housing programs. The director of the Department of Public Safety will set the amount for the permit fee.
Short-term rental operators will also be required to collect the city’s 5.1 percent hotel/motel tax from guests and pass the tax revenue on to the city.
The law also sets new rules for online short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. They will not be allowed to advertise listings without valid permits, and they’ll be required to keep records of all listings, hosts, guests, and reservations.
In addition, hosts and platforms are prohibited from discriminating against potential guests based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, familial status, or military status.
The new rules allow the city to deny permit applications or deny renewal for a variety of infractions, including patterns of felony drug-related activity, prostitution, human trafficking, gang activity, calls for service that result in police or fire department visits, or other conduct that endangers neighborhood safety.
There are approximately 700 Airbnb hosts in Columbus and Airbnb reported 58,000 guest arrivals in 2017.