Bill to regulate short-term rentals in Maryland not likely to pass this year

by Pamela Wood | The Baltimore Sun

nators on a key committee made it clear Friday that they’re not likely to approve legislation to regulate and tax short-term rental properties that are advertised online.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee expressed little interest in passing a bill during a work group meeting on the issue Friday afternoon.

They’re considering a bill that would require short-term rentals posted on websites like Airbnb, HomeAway and FlipKey to file paperwork with the state, pay state sales taxes and pay local hotel taxes.

The Finance Committee invited people involved in the issue — including representatives from traditional hotels, Airbnb officials, an innkeeper and a property owner who rents her home — to Friday’s work group meeting.

After a couple hours of discussion, committee chairman Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton said it seems that the General Assembly may best be suited only to deal with the issue of state sales taxes. The state Comptroller’s Office already has taken the position that short-term property rentals through websites are subject to the state sales tax.

Local governments are better suited to deal with making sure their local hotel taxes are collected, Middleton said. Local hotel taxes range from 3 percent to 9.5 percent.

Middleton told participants in the work group that there might not be another meeting on the legislation. He suggested it would be an issue to work on before next year’s General Assembly session.

“This may be a thing we take up over the interim,” said Middleton, a Charles County Democrat.