Rent my car? Virginia heads toward peer-to-peer auto rental law

Think of it as Airbnb for cars.

Virginia lawmakers are considering a bill that would establish rules for peer-to-peer car rentals, in which a car owner could rent a vehicle to a stranger, for a fee.

Unlike traditional car rental companies that monopolize airport rentals, and established ride-sharing companies that enable a driver to rent a car by the hour, in peer-to-peer rentals, the car owner lists a vehicle for rent in an online, searchable marketplace.

SB 735 — a bill introduced by Sen. Stephen Newman, R-Lynchburg — would establish insurance, taxation, record keeping, disclosure and safety recall requirements for peer-to-peer vehicle sharing platforms.

Until now, there has been no regulatory control or protections in peer-to-peer car rental transactions that have occurred in Virginia.

The bill details insurance responsibilities and liabilities for the peer-to-peer car owner, peer-to-peer car driver and peer-to-peer sharing platform.

Under the bill, peer-to-peer sharing would not be allowed at airports. Traditional car rental companies that serve airports pay a higher tax rate to the state than peer-to-peer companies will.

The bill passed the Senate, 40-0, and was referred by the House of Delegates to the Committee on Appropriations last week.

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