AirBnB... We Realize That Maybe It's Not All Kosher...

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Generic's picture
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In this article about airbnb and the city of San Francisco at www.tnooz.com/2012/05/08/news/airbnb-seeks-further-occupancy-tax-discussion-san-francisco-treasurer-stands-firm/ it appears that airbnb says the following:

“We do not shy away from tax obligations, nor do we believe that all types of private residential rentals should be excluded from transient occupancy tax in all situations. We will continue to cooperate with the City and the Tax Collector’s Office and look forward to the opportunity to work together on potential new tax policy and rules for collection for the temporary rental of space in private residences.”

Interesting.... each one of these listings violates local laws and doens't collect the occupancy tax, sales taxes, homeowner tax, government registration, city registration, required insurance and both income taxes. It appears that maybe they are starting to understand that they are being used, illegally.

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Generic's picture
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New article today... http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/07/22/man-arrives-to-find-family-living-in-his-home/

Imaging coming home to find out someone has rented out your home....

Generic's picture
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New article today.... now there are AirBnB squatters! http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Squatters-don-t-sit-well-with-Airbnb-hosts-5631952.php#photo-6614609

Madeleine's picture
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One of many reasons that lots of us don't take long term rentals.

 

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If I recall, this directory started as a 'Rent my Couch' type of site and has expanded greatly since those early days.  But they are not alone when listing those fly by night rentals that are popping up in every area now.  They appear on other vacation rental directories and Cr aig sl ist.

I too have a problem with these people that were once landlords of monthly rentals that have become overnight accommodations skirting the law.  Not only is it unfair to those of us who have had to jump over hurdles in order to be licensed, collecting taxes, paying for the insurance, but also unfair to their neighbors who are not expecting this next door. 

This has been a large problem in the big city near us, so large that they just can not get a grasp on how to handle the problem.  For every 1 they shut down, 4-5 take their place.  The ones that are legal have just succumbed to defeat knowing that the city does not have the man power to control it.  (but they do keep the legal ones walk the straight and narrow)

Generic's picture
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The simpliest way to handle it... if our tax department finds them, it calculates and estimate of their owed taxes and send them the bill and the fines. It's hard to fight it... because if you produce paperwork you are admitting that you violated the law. And their estimates are extremely high!

One of the B&B associations around here was actually paid by the government to help them hunt them down, which is more than offset by the tax collections. But they are having a tough time doing it.

egoodell's picture
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 We have some listings on them that are whole houses renting for $1600/week.

RIki

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egoodell's picture
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 Airbnb knows full well that nobody is paying the taxes or getting the required licenses. Don't kid yourself!

If they are doing anything about it it is because of us complaining to the authorities about it and finally getting heard.  Our County is just starting to contact some of these places about the tax. Now they need to be contacted about getting their health inspections and fire inspections etc.

RIki

Joey Camb's picture
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I had a big hoo haa with a DIY firm which was saying just tart up your spare room and rent it out for the olymics - we pointed out they would need to alter their insurance, how will you take the money?, how will you have any security of the booking?, how will the customer have any security? if they pinch stuff what happens then? etc

There is a huge scandle at the moment in the UK of people chucking people out of rented flats so they can rent them out at $10,000 A week for the olympics with about 3 weeks notice!

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Madeleine's picture
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I would think a lot of innocent would-be renters are looking at this like selling a used washing machine in an ad. They are not going to claim that income on their taxes nor are they going to collect a sales tax. The buyer does not plan to pay sales tax either.

It could also be looked at as taking in a college student to board in your home. No one is going to get any special license to do that and I seriously doubt they're going to claim the income generated.

It really is still very fuzzy. One room in your home rented out every couple of weekends? No one will claim that anywhere.

Now, someone who is doing this all the time and has made a 'business' out of it should be paying all the necessary taxes and licensing fees. But, again, I bet most people are thinking about this as no different from having a roommate who pays you $x/month to share the apt/house. Even if you don't need the roomie's money to pay the rent you're not going to claim it as income.

Generic's picture
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We have people locally with MANY apartments listed. The first one that comes up locally has 9 apartments. And many of the local listings have "Entire home/apartment". So assuming that someone is doing their room may be in a grey area, but those with their entire home/apartment... especially with multiple listings?

Madeleine's picture
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I get you. We supposedly have a limit here to the number of rooms a B&B can have. As far as I know almost every B&B in town is at or under that. Then I noticed one B&B had a new website. They have 11 rooms. Far exceeding what we were told was the max. The owner has also mentioned he'll rent out vacant apts if his rooms are full.

Some people just do what they want until someone stops them. But, then again, why not maximize your earning potential? Why turn away a B&B guest just because you don't actually have a B&B room when you can put them in a vacant apt that you own? I'm not privvy to his accounting methods.

Weaver's picture
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Where I am setting up the limit is 5 rooms, however there is no limit on "cottages" as long as you can get a building permit for them (mostly issues with set backs and well/septic).  However I am told that asking for a variance is not a big deal if you are looking to do say 6 or 8 rooms, county and state people have said over 10 you are a hotel, regardless of what you call yourself.
 

With that said in my search I found numberous little not so advertised B n Bs.  Lots of 2 room, we only take cash or checks, must be paid in advance....those types of places.  Most county officials ignore it, city officials put a stop to it right away.  Little to no security for guests or owners, and the guests are starting to see it, at least from what I can tell, in that historically places are expanding and going ligit just so they can advertise, even if that means paying taxes.

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