Virginia Beach Airbnb hosts will now have to register with the city and pay taxes

Posted at 7:47 PM, Aug 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-16 23:16:58-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - City council voted unanimously Tuesday to require Airbnb hosts to register with the city and pay taxes.

The new requirements are effective immediately. Airbnb hosts will have to register with the Commissioner of the Revenue and pay a transient occupancy tax of 8 percent, the same as hotels. Hosts will have 45 days to register, if not, they will be faced with getting a $1,000 bond or being fined $1,000.

Typing Virginia Beach into Airbnb yields more than 300 results. Michael Armstrong, who spoke in front of City Council said he discovered Airbnb after many friends stayed at his Bay Colony home.

"What would happen was people would say why don't we give you a few dollars for your time and trouble? And Airbnb kinda popped up," said Armstrong, who added he liked the company because of their strong ethics code.

Armstrong has registered with the city and plans on paying the taxes. He told News 3 he wants his neighbors and others who are unfamiliar with Airbnb to give it a chance because there is a vetting process.

"I think if more people became aware of what all is involved in the process, they might not be as fearful," said Armstrong.

Daniel Dill rents out his waterfront condo for $200 a night and believes the city doesn't need to impose new regulations.

"It does tend to regulate itself. If I get a bad review, somebody is not going to stay in my house. If I see a renter who has trashed someone else's home. I'm not going to allow them to rent with me," said Dill.

In response to the unanimous vote to pass the new requirements, Airbnb sent News 3 this statement:

We're extremely proud of the positive impact our hosts and guests are having on communities like Virginia Beach. With clear benefits to local economies and the evolution of travel, we believe that cities should make it easier - not harder - for everyday people to share their homes and give travelers more options.

Both Armstrong and Dill are doing what Airbnb intended when the company was founded. Dill only rents out his condo when he is traveling.

"We spent a little bit of time in Richmond with my wife's family so we rented it out while we were there."

Armstrong said to City Council a lot of people are using Airbnb and he wants to make sure it doesn't get squashed in Virginia Beach. He mentioned other companies including Uber and Lyft, which he said has changed communities.

"It's a new paradigm. It's a brave new world, things are changing and it would be good to change with it, adapt," said Armstrong.