Short Term Rentals

April Flanagan, right, guest services manager for Ryson Real Estate and Vacation Rentals, goes over information with Sarah Ludeke as she checks in for a weekend at a beach house on the West End of Galveston on Friday, April 30, 2021.

GALVESTON

An increasing number of short-term rental houses in Galveston is rubbing some residents the wrong way.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

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(9) comments

Stephen Young

Sounds like the good ol Gestapo!

Bailey Jones

I don't understand why this is so complicated. Let Airbnb and Vrbo collect and remit taxes - that takes the burden off the STR owner. Require Airbnb and Vrbo to include a list of all STRs that they are remitting taxes for. The city can use those lists to verify that all STRs are registered. Open a phone hotline or website where residents can report noise, trash, etc., in real-time. Levy fines on the worst offenders. An annual fee from each STR pays for the effort.

Mary Branum

Airbnb and VRBO (Expedia) are two of approximately 31 platforms and 300 sub platforms, but are the only 2 who have the capability of collecting and remitting HOT. This does not include FB, Craig's list or individual websites. They do not provide a list of those who paid, only dollar amounts. Will the City collect more HOT - Yes. Will the City be able to verify compliance - No. This is why robust, all inclusive software with registration, reporting and tractability is necessary along with enforcement.

Bailey Jones

Is there any reason why the city can't require a list of listings along with the taxes?

Mary Branum

From what I understand, it is against their policy to provide names and addresses citing the privacy factor.

Bailey Jones

Hmmm - maybe they need to change their policy. There's no privacy between a business and the city that regulates it.

Raymond Lewis

Good info Mary.

Raymond Lewis

Mr. Jones, I think I would add the caveat that a Short Term Rental would have to be registered with the city/park board BEFORE participating with Airbnb or VRBO. These two entities should work cooperatively with local communities and not allow participation unless a local registration is produced as was suggested in the article. Hoping our legislature doesn't go the route they did with the car hailing companies and take local oversight away.

Bailey Jones

I agree. There's no requirement for that yet, although VRBO does ask for your city registration number - but I think it's optional.

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