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.