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Short-Term Rental Update: Airbnb goes luxe; The Plum Guide aims to become the Michelin Guide for the short-term rental world; short-term rental opportunities expand in Seattle with the approval of accessory dwelling units by the City

Airbnb Goes Luxe
("Airbnb dives into ultra-high-end rentals. Here’s what brokers think," Real Deal - LA Real Estate News on Jun 2, 2019)
Last week, Airbnb announced it was rolling out Airbnb Luxe, a vertical featuring properties that rent for $1,000 or more per night. The properties on the Luxe website must pass a 300+ point inspection, including a strict set of standards, from chef-grade appliances to high end finishes. Renters using the service can take advantage of the services of a trip designer—like a concierge or butler—to arrange tours, transportation, and more. We expect that Airbnb’s foray into the bespoke property market will convert some former skeptics of the model who have historically viewed Airbnb as an accommodation option for cost-conscious travelers.

Speaking of Luxe Short-Term Rentals, Consider The Plum Guide
("A global home stay platform that only accepts 1 in 100 properties wants to become the 'Michelin Guide' of the rental world through its tough vetting process," Business Insider UK on Jul 3, 2019) 
Home stay platform The Plum Guide, with properties offered in London, New York, Rome, Milan, Paris, and LA, has a goal of becoming the Michelin Guide of the short-term rental world. Earlier this year, The Plum Guide raised $18 million of Series B funding for its global expansion, with plans to roll out in Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Madrid, and Tel Aviv, as well as six additional US cities by the end of 2019. The vetting process is strict and the platform only accepts 1 in 100 homes to be listed. Despite the extremely high standards, the company insists that the context is “affordable luxury.”

Short-Term Rental Opportunities Expand in Seattle
("Seattle City Council votes to reduce barriers to building ADUs," Curbed - Seattle on Jul 1, 2019) 
The Seattle City Council approved legislation last week that could make it easier to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs)—like backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments—along with language that would rein in so-called McMansions in single-family zones. The legislation allows two ADUs on one lot instead of one ADU and axes a requirement for off-street parking. Homeowners were previously required to live on the lot containing an ADU in order to rent it out, but the legislation eliminates that requirement, too. We’ve heard mixed reactions from local Seattleites affected by the changes, ranging from enthusiasm for additional housing options in single-family neighborhoods to dismay that newly-built large homes will no longer be permitted under certain circumstances. As always, we will continue to monitor how local jurisdictions like Seattle handle shifting community feedback and implement reactive regulatory changes to the short-term rental landscape.


Other news:

Regulation & Legal Developments

LA’s new Airbnb rules go into effect today—here’s what you need to know
Curbed - Los Angeles on Jul 1, 2019
New home-sharing regulations are in place for the city of Los Angeles today, changing the way hosts from Airbnb and other rental platforms can book vacation stays and short-term rentals. Starting today, hosts must register and pay an $89 fee to the city. Hosts can only register one property with the city at a time and the property must be their primary residence (where they live at least six months out of the year).

Enforcement

City begins registration requirement for short-term rentals; online portal launches
Biz Journal - Midwest News on Jul 3, 2019
Owners of short-term rentals in Cincinnati are now required to register their properties with the city of Cincinnati. The required registration took effect this week as part of a city ordinance that passed April 24, which includes a 7% excise tax. Registration is valid for three years. The city of Cincinnati has launched a web platform to allow for online registration and fee payment. The ordinance applies to any residential property available for rent on online hosting platforms with an intended… 

State again seeks to subpoena Airbnb records
Honolulu Star Advertiser - Hawaii News on Jul 2, 2019
The state Department of Taxation is again asking a judge for permission to force vacation rental giant Airbnb Inc. to turn over the booking records of operators in Hawaii who advertise with them. 
 
Napa County Grand Jury wants more enforcement done on illegal vacation rentals

Napa Valley Register - Local News on Jul 1, 2019
The Napa County Grand Jury wants Napa County and the city of Napa to do more to crack down on illegal short-term vacation rentals. Unincorporated Napa County has an estimated 450 illegal short-term vacation rentals, with the number not known for the city. That means less housing for residents and workers, less money for hotels and less hotel tax money for government, the 2018-19 grand jury found. 

Wild Airbnb parties bring calls for crackdown
 
Lexington Herald Leader - Business on Jun 27, 2019
Just a couple of days after a rowdy house party at a short-term rental property ended in gunfire in a residential neighborhood in Rocklin, Calif., near Sacramento, Erin Youman. 

Taxation

New taxes take effect on short-term rentals

Biz Journal - Northeast News on Jul 1, 2019
The new tax on short-term rentals in Massachusetts kicked in on July 1, part of a 2018 law regulating lodging offered through platforms like Airbnb. 

Airbnb to start collecting Houston’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) from July 1st
Hospitality Net - Latest Industry News on Jul 1, 2019
Houston First Corporation and Airbnb, the online home sharing platform, today announced a breakthrough agreement in which Houston's Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) will be collected from Airbnb customers starting July 1. The 7 percent tax on Airbnb rentals will flow to Houston First, a government corporation that promotes and markets Houston's travel, tourism and arts communities around the world and operates the city's finest convention, arts and entertainment venues.

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We regularly update clients about changes in real estate law and on industry trends. This includes briefing clients on legislative proposals in the federal tax, housing and other legal areas affecting their businesses. Staying current enables you to anticipate and prevent legal problems as well as capitalize on new developments.
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