Support Four Amendments to Bill 18-0189 (Short Term Rentals) & Baltimore Hosts Coalition

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Support Baltimore’s short-term rental hosts and the amendments proposed by the Baltimore Hosts Coalition to City Council Bill 18-1089

The Coalition was happy to see the cap restricting how many nights we can rent our non owner occupied properties removed from the bill at the September 2018 work session. The Coalition does not agree with the additional restrictions on the licenses for non-home hosted properties and believes anyone should be able to obtain a license and legally operate as a STR, regardless of when they purchased their property or started renting it. 

Current Requested Amendments
1. 5-10 UNRESTRICTED Licenses.  This would allow anyone who passes the city rental inspection process to obtain a license to operate a STR property safely and legally. There should be no grandfather clause and the property can be owned by an LLC or an individual. 
2. Change the definition of STR from stays of 90 nights or less to 30 nights or less
3. Representation with Visit Baltimore, if we are paying the occupancy tax which fund their operations.   

Call to Action
1. Contact Mayor Catherine Pugh and ask her to put pressure on the city council to amend the bill with our three current amendments.  If it cannot be amended, we are asking her to veto it. 
2. Spread the word to other hosts, business and others who want to keep STR a legal and viable option for anyone looking to invest in our City. 
3. Sign the petition and get others to sign it!  

These hosts and small business owners bring vital tourist dollars to all parts of Baltimore’s economy, its neighborhoods, and its locally owned businesses. Whether renting out a room in their home, a whole home, or multiple homes, each host plays an important role in our city. Baltimore hosts are tax paying citizens who live, work and spend their money and profits here in Baltimore City. We oppose the restrictions on the licenses which restrict investment  in Baltimore. City residents should be afforded the same opportunity to operate and grow their business as any other legitimate business. These short term rental guests visit our neighborhoods to experience our charm, food, drink, services, and goods and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. This bill will decrease the number of visitors (and tourist dollars being spent) in neighborhoods that don't traditionally benefit from visitors at a time when many small businesses in our city are struggling. 

Baltimore Hosts are civic-minded residents who support neighborhood and nonprofit organizations working to improve our city and neighborhoods. These amendments will allow small businesses and homeowners who have invested in our city to continue to operate their businesses and encourage them to re-invest in Baltimore City!  All Baltimore City property owners should be allowed to legally rent all or part of their property as a short term rental in order to pay their bills should their personal or financial circumstances change. We are calling on the city council and the mayor to not pass anti-competitive regulations that inhibits potential buyers from purchasing property in Baltimore City because they fear limits on future use of their property.

History
The Baltimore Hosts Coalition was formed with hosts, guests, neighbors and other locally owned business who benefit from the money brought to Baltimore's neighborhoods by these guests. We currently have approximately 900 members who are city residents. 

*The Facebook page for the Coalition: https://www facebook.com/groups/ baltimorehosts/

Legislation
This is the 4th year that the City Council has introduced some iteration of the Short Term Rental (STR)/ Airbnb bill. Rather than fight the bill again, we decided to work with the council to get it amended to a version that allows us to stay in business.  

In September, the City Council Committee reconvened for a work session (though the Coalition and the public  was not allowed any input to the amendments nor allowed to speak) and presented the attached amendments to the bill. We were happy to see the nightly cap removed, but very unhappy with the new additions to the bill, including further restrictions on the licenses. 

The City Council Committee gave us 8 days notice for the one and only public hearing. It was scheduled for a Thursday at 11 am when most people were on vacation and at work.  Despite the short notice, date and time, the Coalition had 75 members in attendance and provided more than four hours of verbal testimony, and hundreds of pages of written and electronic testimony calling for the bill to be amended.

More bill info: https://baltimore legistar.com/ LegislationDetail.aspx?ID= 3336818&GUID=92CBA024-C598- 4832-ACCC-DD05E9E55DFF& Options=ID%7CText%7C&Search= 18-0189

Media coverage of the City Council hearing in July:

https://www.youtube.com/watch v=sgjxNIAc-ss&feature=youtu.be

https://www.wbaltv.com/ article/short-term-rentals- could-be-treated-more-like- hotels-in-baltimore-soon/ 22485824

https://baltimore.cbslocal com/2018/07/19/city-council- considers-a-bill-to-put- limits-on-airbnb-operations/

http://www.baltimoresun.com/ news/maryland/baltimore-city/ bs-md-ci-airbnb-hearing- 20180718-story.html

http://www.vrmintel.com/ baltimore-considers-hotel-tax- and-other-regulations-for- short-term-rentals/

https://www.bizjournals.com/ baltimore/news/2018/07/19/ baltimore-hearing-on-bill-to- tax-short-term-rental.html

 



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