Baltimore: Baltimore city council is set to approve a short-term rental ordinance which would ban new short-term rentals in the city.
Bill 18-0189 limits licences for current short-term rental owners to one primary residence and one secondary dwelling, which must be purchased and have hosted a reservation prior to 31 December. The licences will not be transferred in line with property sales.
Licences will cost $200 every two years and the owner or hosting platform must also collect and remit the 9.5 per cent hotel room tax from all guests staying for less than 90 consecutive days.
The Baltimore Hosts Coalition has fought off previous regulations attempts and has worked with the city council on the latest bill in an effort to implement practical and realistic short-term rental restrictions.
The council removed the previous 90-night cap on rentals, but the coalition is still petitioning the council for the following amendments:
• No cap on licences and the ability of licences to be extended to people and LLCs
• Change the definition of short-term rental from stays of 90 nights or less to 30 nights or less
• Representation with Visit Baltimore, which is funded by the hotel tax
The council last week voted 10-3 in favour of the bill.
Rachel Indek, founding member of the coalition and owner of Baltimore at Home Properties, said: “We’re happy that we have three council members that heard our call and listened to constituents and voted against bill but this council has made it clear big money, big interests, and the hotel lobby are more important than the people of this city.”
Visit Baltimore, the Baltimore Development Corporation, the Baltimore department of housing and community development and the local hospitality industry all support the measure.
Baltimore’s department of finance estimates there are 2,105 rental units in the city, which would be reduced to 1,478 active rentals with the primary plus one licence limit. It furthermore believes those rentals could generate between $587,000 and $1.01 million annually in hotel room tax revenue.
If the bill passes its third reading, it will then be up to the mayor to pass, veto or abstain from the bill but Indek said she hoped the mayor would not approve the bill as a small show of support for the short-term rental community.
The third reading and final vote are expected to take place at the next city council meeting on 19 November.
According to Visit Baltimore, the city hosted 26.2 million person trips in 2017, generating $5.7 billion in local spending and $717 million in city and state tax revenue. The local tourism industry supports or sustains 85,678 jobs.