Airbnb regularly hits the headlines, getting into hot water with towns and cities’ local governments and planners regarding their rules and regulations when it comes to short-term rentals. Many cities require hosts to do a version of signing up with the town hall or other city agencies in order to acquire a license number before listing on the Airbnb website.
Los Angeles introduces strict legislation for short-term rental hosts
The latest rules and regulatory news comes from the City of Los Angeles. Their Home Sharing Ordinance law now provides strict stipulations about who can let their rooms and homes with an Airbnb listing, taking advantage of a little bonus holiday rental profit.
You’d be forgiven for thinking, ‘LA is way out of my territory; what do I have to worry about?’ Well, Airbnb has had its fingers burnt recently for not paying close enough attention to short-term let laws in Europe—Paris, France, specifically. It's now on a mission to partner with governments worldwide, hoping to introduce more registration schemes to counter the issue.
The registration process for an Airbnb listing in L.A. still isn’t clear, but those looking for extra rental income through vacation rentals ought to be careful.
€8m fine for Airbnb due to 1,000+ illegally advertised Airbnb listings
After being hit with a fine that ordered Airbnb to pay 8 million euros to the City of Paris, it looks like the short-term rental giant is upping its game to avoid further, similar courtroom disasters and more associated hefty fines.
In Paris, a mandatory registration number is demanded of hosts wishing to let their properties. So when the French authorities looked into how many hosts were sidestepping the legislation on the Airbnb platform, they took them to court.
By neglecting to comply with regulations and failing to show a valid registration number, Airbnb property advertisements are supposed to be withdrawn from the site. The laws and practice that covers the rule came into effect in 2017.
Paris legislation set to protect tourism and residential communities
The registration number, required for each property as part of the City’s tourism code—provided by Paris Town Hall—provides enhanced regulation of furnished, short-term rentals throughout the City and a selection of surrounding locations. However, taking a look at the numbers of registrations against the listings on Airbnb, the Parisian authorities realised that over a thousand property owners, letters or lessors failed to comply.
With a fine of €8k allocated to each of the 1,010 properties identified on Airbnb at the time, we can only imagine that the experience left a nasty taste in their mouth. Coming off second best and with no desire for any kind of repeat performance, Airbnb is pushing other countries’ local and national governments to implement a partner system, supplying unique registration numbers to appear in their website listings.
120 nights/year limit for Paris short-term lets to combat falling residential property numbers
So what’s all the fuss is about? Why shouldn’t people make a little extra money on the side by renting out their homes? Well, since the launch of Airbnb, many communities in leading tourist areas have taken a real hit to residential property let numbers. Landlords and owners alike realised just how much more profit they could turn by switching to shorter stays from long-term residential lets, with easy access to far more renters on the incredibly popular and successful rental platform.
The lack of residential properties made it increasingly difficult for workers and long-term residents to find occupancy, affecting the local industry and the long-defined culture of each community being replaced by an abundance of tourists.
Initially, Paris required Airbnb hosts to apply for the short-term registration policy and limited the lease on rooms and rentals to no more than 120 nights each year. If they wanted to exceed that limit, then they’d have to apply to the planning department for a change of use, again, from the Paris Town Hall.
Los Angeles joins the campaign, and it’s not making life easy for Airbnb hosts
Airbnb has shown its stamp of approval for the LA registration system. It recently added a page including much of the latest information on applying and acquiring an LA registration number to their help centre.
To sum up the changes, LA’s Home Sharing Ordinance only allows short stays in an owner or tenant’s primary residence, in which case renting is perfectly fine. If it’s a secondary vacation property or holiday let, it’s a no-go for any stays fewer than 30 nights.
Here are some of the hoops LA residents have to jump through to earn their license number, including incurring an additional fee.
· You’ll need a photo ID (federal or state-issued, e.g., driver’s license, state ID card, or passport, and 2 documents as proof of the primary residence. These can include a voter’s card, vehicle registration, recent health insurance bill, recent vehicle insurance bill, recent paycheck, recent property tax bill, or rental or lease agreement.
· If you rent or lease the property, you need a signed and notarised affidavit from your landlord, approving of your home sharing plans.
· If you plan to let multiple rooms in your primary residence, you can apply for a single registration number that includes each one, but you can only accept one booking at a time—that means only letting one room for each night on the calendar.
· The annual registration fee for regular home sharing is $89.
· If you hope to let your property for more than 120 nights/year, you need an Extended Home-Sharing policy. This means applying for the regular home sharing registration, meeting an abundance of further criteria, agreeing to the neighbourhood notification process through the city’s contractor, and paying an additional fee of $850/year—if you make the grade.
As we said, secondary residences aren’t allowed to operate as a short-term rental option, so must employ lets of 30 nights or more for each booking. However, for these medium or long-term lets, a permit or registration number isn’t yet required for those Los Angeles’ hosts.
Faking Airbnb registration numbers
There has been a slew of hosts applying fake or randomly generated numbers to their listings to get around the issue using more nefarious methods. While this keeps the property’s ad live and in pride of place, you’d think it would only be a matter of time before Airbnb or the authorities uncover their less than lawful methods. And surely, it won’t be too long before we see the introduction of a simple coding solution to cross-reference databases, disallowing the sham parties.
Another illicit trend to keep those registration-less ads in the listings is by entering an email address or phone number where the registration number should appear. These new contact details act as an alternative method of connection to complete property rental bookings off the Airbnb site.
The state of play for Airbnb registration schemes in 2021
Airbnb seems to have ruffled a lot of legislator feathers since its arrival, that’s for sure. With many major cities citing the platform as an accomplice to illegal letting activity, it’s no surprise that it’s tightening the reigns as it heads into the future.
There are far too many countries implementing legal changes to their short-term rental legislation to list, but for now, here are a few of the world’s most popular visitor destinations and how they’re managing their Airbnb listing situation.
Los Angeles: Like all of the strict stipulations mentioned above earlier is required hosts who allow less than 30-night stays, with no more than 120 nights total each calendar year.
Paris: In the City of Light, registration required for an Airbnb listing hosting stays of less than 30-night stays for primary and secondary residences, with no more than 120 nights let each calendar year. Since 2019, French lettings have been subject to tourist tax, collected by Airbnb and paid to the respective city.
London: Lawmakers in the UK have brought forth major proposals calling for an all-inclusive UK registration system. Since 2018, short-term lets have been limited by local laws to 90 nights each year but have proved difficult for local councils to police.
You can read Airbnb’s proposal on their website. If you think you are entitled to rent out your property on a short-term let basis for more than the standard 90 nights, then you must complete an exemption form.
Boston: Here, the regulations come in the shape of short-term rental licences distributed by the city and required by law. Hotels, motels, business lettings, and hospital contract properties are exempt, but B&Bs, executive suites, and corporate apartments aren’t.
The frequency stands at lets of 28 nights or less, with a Boston Airbnb registration costing £200/year.
Miami: For anyone hosting a few-day stay in the Miami Beach area, a number is required, in addition to a Florida Vacation Rental Dwelling License.
Short-term rental registration means adding your City of Miami Beach Business Tax Receipt (BTR) number and City of Miami Beach Resort Tax Certificate number to your listings.
The simple and trouble-free way to avoid Airbnb’s license system
When you sign up for UpperKey’s iRenting system, any problems you might have faced through Airbnb’s registration system disappear. Because UpperKey acts as your tenant, sub-letting your homes and apartments to their readily available network of high-quality renters, they do all the hard work and heavy lifting.
They don’t just find their landlords the best tenants for each property, they handle everything from handovers, upkeep, and maintenance, to cleaning, laundry, and customer management. Their system is leading the charge in the digital disruption of the hospitality industry, with more and more of the processes managed online using super-fast and ever-efficient digital solutions.
UpperKey is a leading iRental organisation and a trailblazer in the PropTech industry. As the very first iRenting organisation in London, they operate a global enterprise, making it their mission to streamline the property rental industry.
All you must do is sit back and receive your payments—every month, without fail.
If you’re considering the best alternatives to Airbnb and a system that’s growing into quite a nasty bundle of admin and excessive costs, UpperKey provides an authentic and outstanding solution to your questions like: “do I need any Airbnb registration number?”, "how do I create an Airbnb listing" or “how do I get an Airbnb license number?”.
Upperkey Founders :
Benoit Lam @benoit__lam
Johan Hajji @HotelMarket20