Council approves tax on Airbnb rentals

13News Now has the story

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) --  Airbnb regulations were up for debate in Virginia Beach.

City Council is decided tonight that renters should pay lodging taxes, something that hotels already do.

The issue came to City Council's attention after the fatal shooting of an ODU student at an Airbnb rental in April. Although this is a worse case scenario, city officials say it shows why this issue is about more than just collecting tax money.

"The hotels are absolutely wonderful but definitely with family it's better to stay at a place where you can.. a 'one stop shop' let's just say that and that's always in a house," Karen Schaffer says

The Airbnb website losts more than 1,000 rentals in Virginia Beach alone. Most of those rentals do not pay city hotel lodging fees.

"City council is not interested in outlawing online rentals," said Bob Maatheis

City council is, however, interested in making sure that owners who rent their properties through sites like Airbnb pay the required estimated 8% tax that regular hotels and motels pay.

"We're just trying to adopt an ordinance that goes specifically to the online platforms so that they understand they should be paying the taxes," Maathies says.

Maathies says that the millions of dollars in missed tax money is not the city council's main concern. City Council is also worked about other issues like health, safety, and the welfare of the residents and visitors. 

 


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