Should Philly Tax Airbnb Rentals?

Mayor Nutter is calling for an Airbnb tax months before the Pope's visit to Philly.

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

If you rent out your home on Airbnb, you might be a lawbreaker wheeling and dealing in Philadelphia’s black market.

Currently, the city doesn’t allow short-term rentals in residential areas.

A new City Council bill would change that by legalizing rentals of 30 days or fewer in residential neighborhoods. But there’s a catch: The legislation would require anyone who rents out their home on Airbnb or similar sites to pay the city’s 8.5 percent hotel tax. 

The proposal, which was introduced Thursday by Councilman Bill Greenlee on behalf of Mayor Michael Nutter, would also force people who rent out their homes for more than 30 days to get a rental license.

Greenlee said that the demand for rooms will “hit the roof” during the Pope’s visit this September and the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

“That’s a great thing, but we want to make sure that visitors, tenants and landlords are protected,” he said in a statement. “My legislation clarifies the rules for new and popular platforms like Airbnb, and ensures that everyone is paying their fair share toward the public services and goods that make Philadelphia a great place to visit.”

City officials could not provide an estimate of how much money would be collected from the bill.

Previously: How to Rent Out Your Place During the Pope’s Philadelphia Visit

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