Weeks after being introduced to the Buffalo Common Council, an ordinance requiring short term vacation rentals to register with the City has the support of Councilmembers and Town Supervisors. Seen largely as a first step, this ordinance will require short term rental properties to pay a fee to the governing body, as well as maintain a local contact with the city in case of emergency.  The nearby town of Amherst, NY has recently passed similar legislation after co-writing the ordinance with Buffalo.

Community Consensus on Short-Term Rental Regulation

This ordinance is welcomed by the majority of the community, many of whom see it as the first step on the path to greater and more formal regulation of short-term vacation rentals. Regional precedent has been set by neighboring Massachusetts, which is treating short term rentals similarly to hotels- requiring not only registration, but also vacation rental operators to carry a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability insurance.  Here is a copy of the Massachusetts Law similar to the proposed Airbnb Insurance Law effecting Buffalo and greater New York. 

Many owners/operators understand the benefits that regulation brings to the industry and have taken steps to protect themselves and their property with commercial insurance, designed specifically for short term vacation rentals. Solutions such as Proper Insurance® meet and exceed local ordinances, while providing exceptional protection designed for the risks vacation rental owners and their properties face.  Take 5 minutes and get a quote online here.

Airbnb Responds

In response to the proposed regulation in Buffalo, Airbnb press secretary Liz DeBold Fusco provided a statement saying:

“Airbnb supports common-sense regulation of home sharing and that’s why we have worked with dozens of municipalities across the state to craft policy that fits both the needs of local government as well as those of our community. While we have been in communication with Buffalo and Amherst as they have considered local regulations, we have concerns about and how these onerous regulatory packages will hurt the local residents who rely on home sharing for extra income, as well as small businesses that benefit from visitors.”

Cleary, Airbnb views regulation as opposition to its business model. As soon as the regulatory door is cracked, hosting platforms such as Airbnb must work around barriers to entry installed by concerned communities. Some platforms, such as VRBO readily accept these stipulations, and partner with industry leaders in providing information and education on insurance, as well as other key areas of concern such as the safety of its users and the implementation and zoning of short term vacation rentals within township limits.