The city of Lexington is looking to collect more tax revenues from short term housing rental platforms operating in the central Kentucky. The first step came during Tuesday’s work session at city hall.
Lexington Division of Revenue Director Rusty Cook said a short term rental is anything less than 30 days. He says Airbnb does collect transient room taxes and remits those dollars to urban county government. But other online rental sites are inconsistent in collecting and paying the tax. Council moved forward a resolution directing the administration to take reasonable steps to ensure all similar businesses play by the same rules. Council Member Jennifer Mossotti isn’t sure if the measure is tough enough. “It’s a good first step. I just don’t think there’s enough teeth in the resolution to make someone take notice basically. If we’re going to try to gain a better stronghold, I think we need to make the language stronger,” said Mossotti.
Cook says hosts in Lexington need to have a business license. He said there are hundreds of short term rentals available across Lexington. Cook says Airbnb has the majority of them.
West Third Street Resident Jennifer Braddock expressed concerns about changing dynamics in neighborhoods. “I don’t think we saw a lot of this coming and also with the new proposals that are coming up with the accessory dwelling units. I think these tie in together more than there, you know, deeper discussions need to happen and take place. I think they are co-mingled,” noted Braddock.
Braddock said the rise of Airbnb in the Lexington area started with the World Equestrian Games in 2010. She says it’s snowballed since then.
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