Cincinnati considers new rules on Airbnb-type rentals

April 8, 2018 by  

David Mann, a Cincinnati city councilman, plans to introduce an ordinance soon to try and mitigate the negative effects he believes sites like Airbnb have on the affordable housing units in the city.

Airbnb and similar sites let property owners operate much the same way hotels do, renting rooms or even entire buildings to short-term tenants.

Companies like Airbnb do not own the buildings, but act as the middleman between property owners and guests. They operate websites where the transaction takes place, and charge a small fee. This inexpensive business model has caused some property owners to buy up rentals or convert traditional housing into sites that are available to Airbnb and similar companies at all times. This procedure can diminish the number of affordable housing units available.

The ordinance Mann is proposing would require property owners and landlords who want to rent whole buildings via a site like Airbnb for thirty days or less to be licensed by the city. The property would then be subjected to inspections, and the license would have to be renewed annually. Mann would like the buildings to be rented for fewer than 90 days per year.

In addition, operators who rent out entire buildings would be required to pay income tax on profits from their rentals, and carry liability insurance.

Measures like this have a significant impact, so officials might work with a flyer printing company to create a mailer for residents, explaining the issue.