Sharing Economy

Lawmakers Vote to Make Airbnb Legal in Virginia…For Now

The commonwealth sets standards for Airbnb but slaps on an expiration date.

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Bedroom
Mconnors/MorgueFile

The Virginia General Assembly recently passed legislation that would clarify laws on residential rentals posted on websites such as Airbnb. The legislation, still awaiting the governor's signature, is a win for the sharing economy but it would be even better if it were permanent.

Airbnb wasn't explicitly illegal in Virginia prior to this law, however local jurisdictions were free to set their own restrictions. One of the primary catalysts for the new standards was a zoning ordinance in Richmond banning rentals for less than 30 days. Because Richmond hosted the UCI Road World Championships back in September, there was an unusually high demand for lodging in the city. The ordinance prevented some property owners from cashing in on that opportunity.

The new legislation sets uniform standards for short term rentals and clarifies what kinds of rules local governments can and can't pass. For example, cities and counties can't ban Airbnb-style rentals altogether or require them to follow the same rules as hotels. However, local authorities can enforce rules like noise and parking restrictions.

So far so good. But at the last minute an amendment was added that will force the legislature to start the whole process over again when the new law sunsets a year from now. The Housing Commission has to put together a study to explore issues of "registration, land use, tax, and other issues of public interests associated with the short-term rental of dwelling and other units." Presumably, the results of that study will determine what kind of laws the Assembly passes in 2017.

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  1. FWIW all laws should have built-in sunset clauses.

    1. My plan has a combo of sunset provisions and term limits so that a different set of fucking assholes votes on legislation every renewal.

      1. Add: supermajority to pass, simple majority to repeal.

        1. Don’t be dumb. My plan also stipulates that all legislation must be read out loud in its entirety by each lawmaker at the time of giving a yea vote. Any shortcuts or omissions means the vote gets registered as a nay.

          1. My plan for an entire democracy is to hold an election and arrest anyone who shows up.

          2. You want to outlaw the yada yada for members of congress?

            I’m for that.

          3. I thought I was being reasonable — I was going to propose 1/3 to repeal.

            1. I thought I was being reasonable — I was going to propose 1/3 to repeal.

              “Any libertarian objection to any bill triggers immediate repeal”

              1. Any libertarian objection to any bill triggers immediate repeal

                And a 3 month long debate on whether or not the person objecting is actually a libertarian.

          4. Can we add the rule that any stutter, mispronounced word, or unnecessarily long pause require the reading to start over from the beginning?

            Can we also add the rule that anyone not present for the entire reading, or who fell asleep at any time during the reading, casts an automatic nay vote?

    2. Except for amendments, I would agree.

    3. It’s too bad they only put on sunset dates when they loosen freedom up.

      Your Freedom of Speech Will Expire On: 8 November, 2016

  2. What’s really cute is that these local and state governments think they can enforce their bans for services and goods traded over the internet.

    1. it’s an excuse to do more no-knock raids.

    2. What’s really cute is that these local and state governments think they can enforce their bans for services and goods traded over the internet.

      They’re just banning AirBnB. And if AirBnB wants to remain a legitimate, licensed business with a dedicated website and web presence, that’s pretty easy.

  3. The ordinance prevented some property owners from cashing in on that opportunity.

    Also known as providing a needed service.

    1. Exactly. The point made should have been that the ordinance prevented visitors from the avoidance of being fleeced.

  4. “Airbnb wasn’t explicitly illegal in Virginia prior to this law, however local jurisdictions were free to set their own restrictions.”

    So you admit it’s legal in Virginia yet the state legislature is obsessed over the issue anyway! Why is the state trying to override local home rule over a purely hypothetical issue?

    Oh, wait, I thought we were discussing local “public accomodation” ordinances.

    1. I’m not saying those dots are unconnected, but I’m not seeing the connection.

      1. When there’s a state law that (potentially) means businesses don’t have to make gay cakes, Reason runs articles saying that making gay cakes is already optional under state law, and sure, maybe one or two local jurisdictions have made gay cakes obligatory, but that doesn’t really matter and the state shouldn’t be passing any laws on the subject.

        1. Ah. I would not say that was a consistent or uniformly held position, though.

  5. OT: Jay Bilas is a fucking retard. He just suggested that all at large picks be made before the conference tournaments and the tourneys are just to determine auto-bids.

    As if there isn’t some overlap there that would wreck his idiotic plan. He’s stupider that the leading presidential candidate of one of the major parties.

    1. I’ve never liked that guy. He’s the smarmy, sanctimonious, self-appointed arbiter of how everything in college basketball ought to be. Meanwhile, nobody ever asked for his opinion.

  6. Wait, I just noticed the headline. Can’t legislatures only make things illegal? Because the natural would be for something to be legal until otherwise ruled illegal. Otherwise, how can penalties be ascribed to something.

    I think the current headline is
    ::dons sunglasses::
    butchered. Perhaps it should be “Lawmakers Vote To Affirm Legality Of Airbnb In Virginia…For Now”.

    1. DON’T TALK SHIT ABOUT *scrolls up* ANNE BUTCHER

  7. “Because Richmond hosted the UCI Road World Championships back in September, there was an unusually high demand for lodging in the city. The ordinance prevented some property owners from cashing in on that opportunity.”

    Those must have been some real boy scouts, I go back to Richmond every few months and see more and more homes on AirBNB.

  8. I think we went wrong when we decided to have legislatures as a permanent fixture of government.

    Laws:
    1. No Murder: 2-3 paragraphs listing degrees and maximum punishments
    2. No Theft: 3-4 paragraphs listing degrees and maximum punishments includes fraud, stealth and violent thefts
    3. No Assaults: 3-4 paragraphs listing degrees and maximum punishments includes all direct physical harms short of murder
    4. No slavery 3-4 paragraphs listing degrees and maximum punishments includes kidnapping, slavery, false imprisonment
    5. No Tyranny 5-6 paragraphs listing offenses to the citizens rights by government employees, only applies to said employees

    6. Contracts will be enforced
    7. Procedural rules

    What have I missed?

    1. Abortion?

      ::ducks::

    2. What have I missed?

      A commerce clause. 1 line. Justifies 100% of everything else government does.

      1. #6. I made it 4 words

    3. The only other things I could see adding are some sort of treason group, but I’d want it pretty strictly limited, and some revenue mechanism, which we can all argue about.

    4. Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s ass.

  9. Story on the Hearing Protection Act. Sorry for the Guardian link but it’s actually a very positive piece.

    Silencers are rarely used in crimes, according to a 10-year study published in 2007 by the Western Criminology Review. Researchers estimated silencers were involved in 30 to 40 of the 75,000 federal criminal cases filed each year. The study found only two federal cases involving a silencer used in murders.

    Police in Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia, two high-crime cities in the eastern US, haven’t encountered silencers at crime scenes or during investigations, according to spokespeople for the departments.

    They can help muffle the sound of a bullet leaving the barrel of a gun, but they can’t do anything about the “crack” of a bullet breaking the sound barrier.

    The obligatory pearl-clutching is so over the top to be laughable:

    “What legitimate reason does a person have to be wandering around the streets of a big city with a silencer?” said Joe Mullery, a Democrat who represents a high-crime Minneapolis district in the Minnesota state legislature.

    DeFazio [D-OR] only “D” co-sponsor for House version along with 50 “R”s. Mike Lee and Rand co-sponsoring the Senate version.

    Obviously, this would be vetoed by a POTUS Clinton if it survived filibuster in the Senate.

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