On July 11, 2018

New law regulates short-term rentals

In an attempt to close a tax loophole enjoyed by operators of short-term rentals such as Airbnb, and to assure visitors and paying guests of safe and sanitary conditions, the Vermont General Assembly passed Act 10, requiring that certain conditions must be met.

Effective July 1, all short-term rental operators must post a Vermont meals and rooms tax account number on any advertisement for the short-term rental.

Operators who advertise through an online platform that has an agreement with the Vermont Department of Taxes to collect and remit tax, like Airbnb, may post the tax account number used by that platform. If they use the platform’s tax account number, they are not required to open a meals and rooms tax account for locations where the platform is collecting tax on their behalf. For any rentals handled independently of any such platform, however, operators must maintain a meals and rooms tax account and post that account number on any advertisement for the short-term rental. A meals and rooms tax account number may be obtained by registering online with the department at myVTax.vermont.gov.

Killington ranks no. 1 for having the most Airbnb accommodations in Vermont with 453 listings (from 161 hosts). Four of the five towns with the most Airbnb rentals are ski towns – Killington, Stowe, Warren and Dover, according to Airbnb reports.

And the growth has been exponential over the past seven years. In 2011, Killington was not on the Airbnb map, by 2013, it had a couple dozen listings, then in 2014-2018 it surged.

Airbnb rentals are popular for the savings and convenience they can afford, and in some places supplement limited accommodations by offering a room in a home or an entire home to rent.

But local hotels and inns now have to compete with many more offerings — and short-term rentals don’t have to navigate nearly as many costly rules and regulations.

In addition to the meals and room tax, new rules stipulate that the operator of the rental must now also post the telephone number of the individual responsible for the unit, contact information for the state Dept. of Health, and contact information for the state Division of Fire Safety.

Existing and new operators should expect to receive an information packet about the health, safety and financial obligations of short-term rental operators, prepared by the Dept. of Taxes, Dept. of Health and the Dept. of Public Safety. The packets will include information regarding the importance of reviewing options for property and liability insurance with the operator’s insurance company.

In addition, each packet will include a self-certification form relating to health and safety precautions short-term rental operators must take into consideration prior to renting a unit. The form must be retained by the operator but does not have to be filed with the Dept. of Health.

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