Seattle City Council Passes Per-Night Fees for Short-Term Rentals Like Airbnb


good ol' council can't help themselves - they need to stick their noses into every and any "business" related situation.
Another $7 million to be burned. Hooray!
Any now you know why things cost what they do. Every one paying their fair share.
Wait--business income is taxable by the geographic government where the business is taking place? When the hell did this start?
This is a $7 millon slush fund for three neighborhoods.

The council Fiscal Note says implementation will cost $2.8 million.…
Shocking to see the City taxing Airbnb hosts just like hotels and motels. So unfair!
It's none of their business if I rent a room, why would it be? Other than another way to tax. Fuck Off!
@7 Many rent out rooms just to make rent or mortgage payments to keep up with being Taxed out of their homes.
Oh cry me a river. You live in one of the most liberal cities in the country, and you're bitching about taxes? Then pack up your bullshit and move your ass to deep red rural America, there are literally hundreds of dying towns that would love to have you. Or here's a thought, if you can't stand the dozens of nickel-and-dime taxes and levies that get floated every year to pay for basic services, maybe you could support a statewide income tax. You know, the kind everyone else has to pay but you don't because you decided you'd rather pay more in sales tax? Buncha snowflakes.
@7: No, it's most other jurisdictions with short-term rental regulations that tax "Airbnb hosts just like hotels and motels" by just applying hotel occupancy taxes to those uses. Instead, Seattle is instituting a flat per-night tax, rather than a percentage of the room rate. That punishes hosts on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale by making their listings less competitive.
Airbnb is a parasite. If it was up to me, the bill would be required to have that printed right on there:

PARASITE TAX @$8.00 PER NIGHT . . . . . . . . . .

The ads too. It couldn't say " applicable taxes." It has to say "Price plus $8/night PARASITE TAX". They're lucky all they have to pay is this little tax.

Then they should do what normal people in that situation do: find someone who needs a place to live and rent by the month - voila! No nightly Airbnb rental tax!
@11 hits at my biggest qualm about this. This is a tiny, trivial tax on luxury rentals and a high percentage tax on bargain places--place probably rented by people who can't afford hotels and nicer places. Why?
@12: airbnb is a website. The people paying the tax are, for the most part, people travelling to Seattle for business and/or pleasure, many of whom are priced out of our cities' incredibly pricey hotel market. Why people are making this about a particular website, I have no idea. A short term rental market existed long before airbnb existed, and will exist long after it's gone. Why is a short-term rental market--something that has always existed in every city, always--a wicked thing? (And yes, they're a shitty company with a punchable face, but they're not paying this, the people who are in the market for short term rentals are, and I have no idea why they're inherently parasites, or why they are "parasites" and and visitors staying in hotels aren't.)

Is it your wish that people who can't afford our city's steep hotel prices (or don't have friends and family to stay with) not be allowed to visit the city? Why?
Airbnb is just a website. Guns don't kill people. A virus is just information. Renters never pay any property taxes. Uber is just an app. Gamma radiation is only photons. The internet is just a series of tubes.

There, that's seven! Somebody else take a turn. Canada is America's hat!
It helps people with the rising rents and taxes making it more affordable. Oh, wait, that's wrong. Tax it.
So, a year ago the dogged journalist Sydney Brownstone finds one couple in Pioneer Square whose lease wasn't renewed and the unit later advertised on Airbnb, and she's discovered the source of the "affordable housing" crisis? How does she make it look so easy?
@17 Your home is a hotel and your car is a taxi. Welcome to capitalism, shut up.
It’s like hotel run through a website only they rent out spaces where Seattle residents should be living. They should be taxed like any other hotel if not more, because they shouldn’t exist at all. They don’t put hotels in the middle of residential neighborhoods for a really good reason.

Even SF was able to figure out how to tax and regulate airbnb and their HQ is here. Get it together, Seattle.
(shrug) I'm ok with this. I hated all of the goofy limits they were going to put on these, but an $8 a night tax? Fine. That's something people can plan for. Maybe use it for something tourist-related to be fair (tourism is a massive part of our local economy, yet we ignore it). But I'm open on that as well.
People that compare nightly/short term rental to a hotel show they know nothing about how both businesses work. It would be like suggesting the little girl with the paper airplane is just like Boeing because they both have airplanes and hence are the same. This tax will just be another line item on the bill.
@21 Ignoring Tourism is part of the tourist experience when they come to Seattle!
@16: so you've got nothing. Good to know.

Still curious why people who want or need to be in Seattle for a few weeks are "parasites" if they rent a room from a local, but A-OK if they place their money in the coffers of Marriott Inc., instead.
There's some evidence that AirBnB directly contributes to higher rents, so ironically, those looking to make some extra money to pay rent may be helping to contribute to their higher rent.…

The law should probably differentiate between "person renting extra room" vs. "owner who's AirBnBing half of his unit inventory, thereby decreasing the number of rental units," though.
Question. Why tax at all?
I'm not sure about others, but when I plan a vacation I set a budget. That's all there is folks. Taking an extra $8 or $14 out of my pocket means one less beer at a local watering hole or skip the appetizer at dinner.

That $7 million a year will ultimately come from the registers of Seattle's bars and restaurants.
doesn’t Airbnb already collect hote taxes on seattle rentals?
AirBnB's should pay the same taxes as hotel's do. Individuals who rent out rooms for long terms, i.e. a lease agreement, should show these payments as income on their taxes. No one should be allowed to use a room rental as a way to generate tax free income.
@6 has flagged the real story here.

To get this program up and running is going to cost $4.69 million--this is money that we will basically take away from existing operating accounts.

Assuming 60% compliance with the regulations (good luck!), it could possibly generate $3.6 million in revenue in 2019.

So, best case scenario is that we are in the hole $1 million after 2019. Since the tax costs $560,000 annually to implement, we won't actually realize any gains in revenue from this tax for several years.