Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) Position Statement on Short-Term Rental Legality, Fairness and Safety

The Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), the leading trade association for owners and operators of bed and breakfasts and inns, believes in a vibrant travel and lodging marketplace, and recognizes the continuing influence of technology and the emergence of new third party travel agents.  While properties such as Hotels, Inns, and Bed & Breakfasts have offered short-term rental lodging for hundreds of years, a new segment of ‘hosts’ who advertise lodging through online platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, and  others has emerged.   

PAII is concerned that guest safety and regulatory compliance is no longer being uniformly adhered to and enforced in the short‐term rental market. Short-term rentals providing accommodations for compensation 15 or more nights annually are subject to business taxation as per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  

Therefore, it is appropriate that these businesses comply with the laws, regulations, and business practices applied to similar lodging properties such as Bed & Breakfasts and small Inns. PAII is committed to advocacy for equitable standards and regulation on behalf of all lodging accommodations offering short term rentals to the public. 

Following the Law 
Local laws and regulations that address the existence and allowance of short‐term rentals in residential properties (i.e. apartments, houses, condos, etc.) vary greatly from city to city in North America and beyond. PAII believes that all property owners, managers, and tenants involved in the rental of their property to the traveling public must abide by all local laws and agreed‐upon covenants and restrictions with regard to short‐term tenancy. If the laws are deemed overly restrictive, rather than circumventing the law, property owners, managers or tenants should seek to change the law. PAII encourages governmental authorities to allow reasonable alternative use of residential properties for the purpose of offering lodging to the traveling public. 

Marketing Intermediaries 
Websites, also known as online platforms or online travel agents (OTAs) which market short‐term rental lodging should take every possible reasonable measure to encourage compliance with local laws and regulations related to renting rooms, apartments or houses. At a minimum, these websites should make those seeking to rent short-term lodging (“hosts”) on their sites aware of the obligation to abide by all applicable local, state, and federal laws. We advise all short‐term rental platforms and intermediaries to give property owners or managers the ability to publicly acknowledge they are in full compliance with the law on their property listings, have been inspected by proper authorities, and carry appropriate commercial liability insurance. Travelers should have confidence they will be staying in safe, legal establishments, and marketing companies must help travelers choose such properties. 

Taxation Compliance
Hotels, Inns, and B&Bs are required to collect occupancy taxes where required, sales taxes, and often both. These taxes support efforts to recruit additional commerce through tourism marketing, fund services such as fire and law enforcement, and fund maintenance or upgrades to the community infrastructure. Short‐term rental owners benefit financially from  such services and therefore should contribute in the same manner as other similar lodging businesses do.  The online intermediaries collect room revenue from travelers on behalf of the property owners or managers; the proper taxes must be collected and dispersed either by the online intermediary or the host. 

Safety standards and requirements for properties offering lodging to the public far exceed those for private residences.  The fire, health, and safety standards for ALL short term lodging rentals must be commensurate with those for legitimate B&Bs and small inns and should include working fire suppression equipment, egress management, and fire inspections.   The onus is on the ‘host’ to follow the proper inspection and reporting protocols to authorities. In addition, property owners should secure ample liability insurance to protect themselves and their guests. 

While the onus is on the host to become educated on the standards, regulations, and requirements, PAII is committed to assisting these hosts to join the community of legal, safe, and hospitable lodging accommodations.

Adopted by the PAII Board of Directors February 5, 2013
Reaffirmed by the PAII Board of Directors April 29, 2015 and January 12, 2017