New Kids on the Block: Regulatory Concerns in Online Vacation Rental Marketplaces

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2 New Kids on the Block: Regulatory Concerns in Online Vacation Rental Marketplaces William J. Jim Priest Jordan E. A. Ferguson Best Best & Krieger LLP

3 Agenda What is an Online Vacation Rental Marketplace? What Issues are these Marketplaces Causing for local governments? What are Cities doing about them?

4 What is an Online Vacation Rental Marketplace?

5 Online Vacation Rental Marketplaces Websites that enable property owners, tenants, and occupants to rent their living space to travelers. Can allow rentals ranging from an entire home to a couch or spare bedroom. Typical short-term rental lasts days or weeks.

6 Online Vacation Rental Marketplaces Unlike Travelocity and Zillow, these Marketplaces set themselves apart by operating outside the business/residence model Argument they are not renting rooms, merely facilitating a connection within the sharing economy.

7 The Sharing Economy Refers to businesses that provide consumers the ability to share resources, like housing, vehicles, home-cooked meals, and more, generally through apps or websites that connect users with potential customers. Other examples: Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Mealsharing

8 Online Vacation Rental Marketplaces Each property is associated with a host (the person renting the space) who may be viewed by the site s registered users/ guests. The websites operate on a broker s model, taking a percentage cut from both the host and guest, or charging membership fees to hosts.

9 Major Players: Airbnb Founded in San Francisco in 2007 by roommates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia Claims more than 800,000 listings in 190 countries worldwide. Boasts more than 25 million guests. As of March 2014, Airbnb valued at over $10 billion, making it worth more than hotel chains like Wyndam ($9.4 billion) and Hyatt ($8.4 billion).

10 Source: elitedaily.com Major Players: Airbnb

11 Source: Airbnb.com Airbnb: Exponential Growth

12 Source: Airbnb.com Airbnb: Exponential Growth

13 Source: Airbnb.com Airbnb: Exponential Growth

14 Source: triplepundit.com Who rents on Airbnb?

15 Major Players: HomeAway Founded in Austin in 2005 by Brian Sharples and Carl Shepherd Claims more than 1,000,000 vacation rental listings in 190 countries. Owns more than 20 other vacation rental sites, including VRBO

16 HomeAway: A Different Business Model Different business model than Airbnb. HomeAway charges rental owners an annual subscription fee (average revenue per listing in 2013 was $368). Also more focused on established rental markets. HomeAway serves people renting out vacation homes when not in use more than people renting extra space. With this different focus comes different challenges (more later).

17 Source: HomeAway.com HomeAway Markets

18 What Issues Are These Marketplaces Causing?

19 Issues Housing Market Issues Taxing Issues Code Enforcement Issues Policy Enforcement Issues

20 Issues: Housing Markets Online Vacation Rental Marketplaces can create major problems for housing markets in pricing and availability. Owners may use Airbnb and HomeAway fulltime to generate greater revenue than simply renting or selling the property. As this practice becomes more prevalent, housing availability for residents will likely decrease, with the price likely to increase

21 Issues: Housing Markets In New York City, for example, the number of short-term private rentals has increased from 2,652 in 2010 to 16,483 in the first half of 2014, including instances of people permanently renting out second bedrooms through Airbnb, people renting out their whole property, or landlords renting out multiple apartments in the same building One commercial host generated $6.84 million from renting out their properties through Airbnb between 2010 and Source: Statista.com,

22 Issues: Taxes Most local governments tax hotel stays (usually called Transient Occupancy Taxes ) Tax collected from guest through hotel bill Hotels responsible for remitting these taxes to local governments on a monthly or quarterly basis.

23 Issues: Taxes Airbnb and HomeAway leave the obligation to comply with local laws (including paying TOT) to the host and guest. Hotels must typically register with local governments; Airbnb properties often have no such requirement. How to track and audit? Communities are often forced to search websites themselves then send letters to collect taxes. This has inefficiencies, with lost tax revenue as a result.

24 Issues: Code Enforcement Large numbers of temporary occupants linked to several code enforcement problems, including: Excessive noise complaints Parking Problems Trash problems Degradation of neighborhood s residential character

25 Issues: Policy Enforcement Whatever policies a city adopts, you have to make sure they are practically enforceable. Harsh regulations are only effective if you can identify violators.

26 What Are Cities Doing About This?

27 New York City: Outright Ban NYC enforces its law making it illegal for property owners to rent out homes for fewer than 30 days (Ewing v. Carmel-by-the-Sea). City has been granted preliminary injunctions against owners of two residential buildings being run as illegal hotels Ongoing fight over release of host information to State Attorney General.

28 San Francisco: Regulation San Francisco ordinance legalized short-term rentals, but requires hosts to be permanent residents of the City (must live in their unit for at least 275 days per year). Rentals where host is not present limited to 90-daysper-year. Aim to keep housing market open to residents.

29 San Francisco: Regulation San Francisco also has several other requirements that are becoming commonplace, including: Registry and Permits Insurance requirement ($500,000 in coverage) TOT must be paid (San Francisco has contract with Airbnb to remit) Airbnb required to notify hosts of the City s laws. Tenants must notify landlords, new law does not affect lease restrictions against subletting. Airbnb recently agreed to pay the City roughly $25 million in past-due TOT

30 San Francisco: Opposition HomeAway filed suit against San Francisco to block the new law Argued the rule unfairly limits rentals on its site, which caters to vacation rentals and second homes. 1,200 properties in San Francisco listed on HomeAway as of November 2014, many of which will be forced off the site entirely. Lawsuit was dismissed for lack of standing (HomeAway does not own property in San Francisco). The law took effect February 1, 2015.

31 Deals with Airbnb Airbnb has entered into agreements with City of Portland and Multnomah County, Oregon as well as San Francisco and San Jose, CA to collect and remit TOT on behalf of their jurisdictions. TOT is collected as part of the transaction on the website.

32 Rancho Mirage Ordinance Rancho Mirage, California passed an ordinance requiring every short-term rental agreement to be signed by someone older than 30. Lawsuit challenging that ordinance has since been dismissed on grounds that the Unruh Civil Rights Act does not apply to a City acting in its legislative capacity.

33 Summary Online Vacation Rental Marketplaces are a growing sector of economy, expanding incredibly quickly They create a range of issues for cities: Housing Shortages Tax Issues Code Enforcement Policy Enforcement There are a variety of potential solutions: Outright ban Regulate-but-allow Wait-and-see approach

34 Questions? William J. Priest Best Best & Krieger 2855 E. Guasti Road Suite 400 Ontario, CA Tel: (909) Website: Jordan E. A. Ferguson Best Best & Krieger 300 South Grand Avenue 25th Floor Los Angeles, CA Tel: (213) Website:

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