By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore’s short term rentals, also known as Airbnb, hosted a record number of guests Preakness weekend.

Many folks who traveled from out of town chose Airbnb over a hotel.

The Baltimore City Council is currently reviewing a bill that would propose regulations on Airbnb’s, but some Airbnb hosts told WJZ some of the regulations could jeopardize their business.

Hundreds of Baltimore hosts share their homes or a room through the Airbnb online marketplace.

“Local neighborhood, live with local people, and experience the local behavior and we have four different segments, want to be on the east side, the west side, the south, and this is what Airbnb allows them to have a true experience here in Baltimore,” Airbnb host Brigitte said.

Airbnb operates in 191 countries, providing a platform to connect hosts with travelers searching for a place to stay.

Baltimore City councilman Eric Costello has proposed a bill regulating Airbnb properties. The Airbnb advocacy group, Baltimore Hosts Coalition, agrees with some of the regulations.

“Having permits and making sure everyone has a safe and positive experience coming to Baltimore is something we support, and also support paying the tax 9.5 percent for hotels, we think that levels the playing field between short term rentals and hotels,” said Jessica Nizamoff of the Baltimore Hosts Coalition.

The bill, however, would only allow Airbnb hosts to operate 60 days a year.

“Nobody tells Starbucks or McDonald’s they can only operate 60 days in a calendar year, so as a small business owners we really need to operate 365 days a year in order to run our business,” Nizamoff said.

In addition, Airbnb hosts do not want taxation without representation.

“The hotel association is who that tax is paid to, they make the decisions of how that money is spent, if you are going to tax me, then i also want a voice, a seat at the table,” Brigitte said.

Airbnb hosts argue the bill would hurt their business and potentially end an industry that brings in money to the city.

Airbnb hosts told WJZ they want to work with the Baltimore City Council to create a bill with fair regulations.

The council is planning on scheduling a hearing date for the issue.

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Comments (2)
  1. My house if I choose to let someone stay that’s my business and NO ONE will dictate what I do in my house or behind my closed doors or who I let sleep in MY beds! Unless your paying my mortgage NO ONE will tell me who I let in MY home and for how long!! YOU NUTS!

  2. Jason Curtis says:

    Dear Ms. Leong,

    I recently read your article regarding the Airbnb regulation copied above in the subject line.

    I wanted to take a moment to correct a couple grossly reported inaccuracies with the comments in your article.

    1. There is no proposed limited (60 nights or otherwise) to any “hosted” AirBNB property in Baltimore City
    a. Please note “hosted” means a house you live in and occupy while renting to a transient guests.
    b. If a person owns an “unhosted” property and they want to use it for transient occupancy, then they will be limited to 60 days, as currently proposed.
    1. Unhosted means a residential unit rented to transient guests where the owner of the property does not reside.

    2. The money collected by the city imposed ‘Occupancy Tax’ does NOT go to any hotel and lodging Association.
    a. In fact, that tax is collected by the hotelier and remitted to the Baltimore City Finance Department
    b. Of the 9.5% Occupancy Tax; a portion of that tax goes to the General Fund for Baltimore City and another portion goes to Visit Baltimore (Not the hotel community)
    c. Visit Baltimore in turn, uses those funds to promote ALL Baltimore has to offer.
    d. The Board of Directors of Visit Baltimore is currently appointed by the Mayor of Baltimore City and not controlled by hoteliers.

    I do hope you take a moment to update your reporting so it is as factual as possible. There is nothing good about misrepresenting Councilman Eric Costello’s legislation.

    Thank you,

    Jason

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