City hopes to clarify tax, inspection issues for Columbia short-term rentals

City hopes to clarify tax inspection issues for Columbia short term rentals

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau hopes to clarify lodging tax and rental inspection issues as it proceeds with possible new rules for short-term rentals.

On Friday, the city closed its online survey, which sought feedback from people on short-term rental services such as Airbnb.

CVB marketing specialist Megan McConachie told ABC 17 News that the comments the city received focused on concern over the city's lodging tax being applied to stays and requiring inspections of those places. While many understood the need for those inspections with regard to safety, McConachie said the CVB would use the feedback to provide clarity.

"Our next step is to take those feedback pieces and those questions and really address those and clarify those next time around," McConachie said.

Hosts of short-term rentals said last month that the city's 5 percent lodging tax might drive customers away from using their platform. Hotels currently pay the lodging tax on stays, with 4 percent of that funding the CVB.

Brent and Kelley Gardner rent their home on Country Club Drive for Airbnb users. They face fewer rules in the city compared to their other property in Roeland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. Brent Gardner said that the city requires rental inspections, which he understands as a necessary safety precaution.

"If it's just not acceptable to the city as a rental property, you shouldn't be holding it out as a rental," he said.

The CVB plans on hosting two more public meetings this month to get feedback on specific recommendations they might make the Columbia City Council.



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