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.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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