Council members seek regulations for Airbnb

Mar 1, 2017

The Common Council is looking at how to regulate and possibly tax home-sharing computer apps like Airbnb.

Via Skype, Airbnb policy adviser Andrew Kalloch appeared on a large screen in Common Council chambers on Tuesday.
Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Operators of conventional bed and breakfasts complain they are taxed and regulated while the home-sharers aren't.

Council Member David Franczyk spoke on behalf of a Buffalo operator of a bed and breakfast who claims to have spent $100,000 to be licensed in the city.

"Why should Airnb be given a pass and not have to meet these requirements?"

Across the country, taxation of this service is patchy and sketchy and often non-existent.

Andrew Kalloch, a policy adviser for Airbnb addressed Council members via Skype, appearing on a large overhead screen in Council chambers.

"Our hosts tend to be people who do this for supplemental income, a couple nights a month," Kalloch said.

"The typical Buffalo host last year earned about $7,000 in supplemental income by sharing their own home or a room within their home for a couple of nights a month."

According to Kalloch, there are intense discussions in Albany about a statewide standard for taxation, with a different set of rules in New York City.