AIRBNB, the online clearinghouse of lodging locations that matches travelers with property owners, has gone from a couple of guys with an extra mattress to failing startup to phenomenon with some 3 million listings around the world, including more than 300 in Virginia.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently signed into law legislation that gives local governments power to establish a registry of Airbnb sites and set regulations for short-term rentals.
Though some Airbnb property owners fear an onslaught of rules and fees, the new law seems more likely to lend legitimacy to an enterprise some potential users might consider a rogue or sketchy travel service.
State and local government officials should not view Airbnb as a budding source of direct revenue, but instead as a generator of tourism that draws people who will spend their money here. Nor should government saddle hosts with onerous rules and fees that make entrepreneurs less inclined to open up their homes, if that’s what they want to do.
But it’s understandable and reassuring that the state would want some level of accountability and recourse when something goes awry between host and guest, or an unsettling trend emerges.
The law allows for the imposition of up to $500 in fees […]