Some looking to regulate Airbnb rentals

New London

Online home sharing sites like Airbnb and VRBO seem to be growing more and more each year.

“We’ve used them actually,” said Frank Toole of Groton. “We’ve used one in Princeton, New Jersey.”

“My guess it’s in the hundreds of housing units that are using this tool in some way shape or form,” said Jason Vincent, the Director of Planning for the town of Stonington.

He says it’s hard to know exactly how many because home sharing rentals aren’t regulated in town and so far no one has submitted proposals to do so.

“When you look at zoning it’s not a good management tool for things like this because it creates non-conformities,” explained Vincent. “People that are already doing something prior to the law being adopted are exempt from the law. So you’d want to do something through a town ordinance.”

Related: Marriott to expand further into home-sharing

Simsbury was looking at developing regulations regarding Airbnb while state Representative Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford) did submit a bill to regulate short term rentals.

“I think they’re great but I want to make sure they’re great for everybody,” said Rep. Scanlon.

Scanlon’s bill however never made it out of committee.

“I want to make sure that people who utilize Airbnb are safe when they do so,” said Rep. Scanlon. “That the hosts have background checks. That the hosts have proper insurance god forbid anything happens and that neighbors are notified.”

Others also wouldn’t mind seeing those who rent their homes out have to get permits or pay other fees which would contribute to the town.

“In Vermont it’s very regulated,” said Toole. “I had a friend that had an Airbnb and the state was after him for sales tax.”

Some inn and hotel owners may argue they have to pay tax on the rooms they rent so homeowners should too. 

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