Va. looks for new rules, tax collections on Airbnb

WASHINGTON — With thousands of Virginia residences listed for short-term stays on sites and apps such as Airbnb, the General Assembly is looking to regulate the burgeoning business to make sure taxes are properly collected on every stay.

A bill now ready for a full vote in the House of Delegates would allow any home or apartment in Virginia to be used for temporary rentals as long as the rental does not violate agreements such as those with a homeowners’ or condo association.

The bill would allow companies such as Airbnb to collect taxes when users pay for a stay — money that would then be returned to local governments through the state.

If companies do not register to collect and submit the taxes on their own, the person whose home is being rented would be responsible for the payments.

The proposal would bar any special local taxes on the web-based systems that are not also imposed on places such as hotels.

However, it would allow local laws preventing temporary rentals from becoming a nuisance through loud noise, late-night guests or certain other means.

Del. Chris Peace, R-Mechanicsville, says the bill would provide guidance to more than 4,000 people using the systems to offer up rooms or homes for rent, including on what information must be provided to renters.

“The status quo can’t continue, because if we don’t have this legislation, these operators will be existing without the structures that are so important in this bill,” he says.

Peace compares this bill to the one passed last year that provides a framework for companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate legally in Virginia.

The House passed House Bill 812 on second reading Wednesday, which means it is now eligible for a final vote.

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