Popular short-term rental websites like Airbnb, FlipKey and HomeAway are making it easier for property owners to rent out their homes to travelers looking for a place to crash. Those three companies now have more than a million listings for everything from spare bedrooms to luxurious oceanfront villas.
But the surging popularity of these casual short-term rentals is generating an array of complex questions for state and local lawmakers. Among them: Should these hosts pay licensing or registration fees? Will short-term rentals detract from the character of residential neighborhoods? Should these properties be regularly inspected or have overhead fire sprinklers or offer onsite parking?