Update on Short-term Rental Legislation
As reported here last month, short-term rental legislation has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly (HB 1604 and SB 1081). These bills backed by MHLA are also supported by a variety of other organizations and businesses. They will be heard in the House on Friday, March 9, and the Senate on March 20. Our Baltimore City bill (#18-0189) has also been introduced and we are awaiting its hearing date.
In all cases, this legislation is in response to the growing number of short term rentals in residential areas. Most of these rentals are marketed by popular internet platforms such as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO. These websites, which are run by multi-billion dollar international enterprises, fail to ensure all the rentals they profit from in Maryland comply with basic tax obligations or existing local rental rules. As a growing number of Maryland communities and counties place rules around short-term rentals to protect communities and neighborhoods, these websites should also be held accountable for enabling non-compliant – and sometimes plainly illegal – activity. Legislation is needed to ensure that short-term rental websites facilitate proper tax collection and that their operators respect applicable county rules in Maryland.
To address these concerns, we support SB 1081 / HB1604 as a legislative solution that creates a state-level framework supporting compliance with tax collection obligations and county and municipal rental rules. Specifically:
1. Short-term rental platforms and hosts must each register with the Comptroller for the collection, reporting and payment of the state sales and use tax. If a platform is not collecting tax on rentals booked through its website, it must verify a host has registered with the Comptroller prior to facilitating the online booking.
2. Short-term rental platforms must provide the Comptroller with transaction-level data that includes a list of hosts. All records must be complete and auditable.
3. Short-term rental platforms cannot book rental units in violation of local county or municipal regulations once notified by the county or city.
Other Legislation you should know about:
- There are numerous bills trying to amend the Paid Sick Leave law, but there is little expectation that any will pass.
- There is an increase of $1M requested for the Maryland Tourism Development Board budget. That budget is primarily spent on tourism marketing. The Department of Legislative Services made the recommendation that the $1M be eliminated and that the budget stay the same as last year. MHLA presented testimony at the hearing on 3/5 requesting the Legislature disregard that recommendation and to fully fund the MTDB budget.
- Baltimore City is requesting legislation authorizing the formation of a “Tourism Improvement District”. If this legislation passes, a bill will also have to pass the Baltimore City Council and formation is subject to approval of the assessed businesses – who are City hotels. The expectation is the legislation will set up a not for profit/non-government board to oversee the fund, which is to be used for marketing in order to increase tourism in the designated district. HB 1385 bill is being heard on March 13 and SB 1085 is scheduled for a hearing on March 20.
MHLA NEWS & UPDATES
January 2018 STR Report
Smith Travel Research data for Maryland shows occupancy is up slightly, ADR has increased 2.0%, and RevPAR is up 2.9% YTD through January 2018 compared to the same period last year. Maryland data is provided monthly to MHLA by Smith Travel Research. Members may view the full report online. Go to https://mdlodging.org/members/ and select “Industry Statistics and Research.” (Member log-in required.)
2018 Scholarship Opportunities available for MHLA Lodging Members
The Maryland Hotel Lodging Association is now accepting applications for multiple $1,500 scholarships to be awarded through the Maryland Tourism Education Foundation again this year. The deadline to apply for the 2018 MHLA Scholarship is April 10, 2018. The application can be found on our website or by clicking here.
Applicants can contact MHLA by emailing mhla@MDLodging.org to verify the membership status of the hotel prior to submission or if they have any questions. Winners will be announced at our Annual Meeting on May 10th.
Welcome to New General Managers at Member Properties
- Ilse Harley is the new GM at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore
- Roody Crosby in now the GM at the Courtyard Fort Meade at National Business Park
- Kyla Coromilas is now the GM at the Residence Inn Columbia
- Dominic Cirri is now the GM at the Courtyard Baltimore BWI Airport
- Skip Cerf is the GM at the Sheraton Baltimore North (New Hotel Member)
- Bill Dillon is the GM at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Columbia East-Elkridge (New Hotel Member)
- Gary Cheatom is now the General Manager of the Courtyard by Marriott Columbia
- Vonnie Johnson is now the General Manager of the Sun ‘N Fun Motel
INDUSTRY NEWS & INFORMATION
Four Seasons Baltimore hires new general manager
Source: Baltimore Business Journal
The Four Seasons Baltimore has hired a new general manager to replace Julien Carrlero, the man who opened the Harbor East location seven years ago. Ilse Harley comes to Baltimore after nearly three decades with the Four Seasons. She is also taking on the role of regional vice president. READ MORE
Cambria Hotels Breakfs Ground on Ocean City, MD. Waterfront
Source: PR Newswire
Choice Hotels International announced the groundbreaking of the Cambria Hotel Ocean City. Located at 309 North 1st Street, the 133-room property is slated to open in summer of 2019. READ MORE
Hunt Valley hotel landmark to hit the auction block
Source: Baltimore Business Journal
The Delta Hotels Baltimore Hunt Valley, formerly the Marriott Hunt Valley Inn, was auctioned out of foreclosure on March 6. A separate auction was also held at the same time for all of the contents inside the hotel including furniture, art work, equipment, tools and supplies. READ MORE
Tru – Hilton’s millennial brand – may be coming near Little Italy
Source: Baltimore Business Journal
An Indiana developer is seeking early design approval from the city for a Hilton Tru Hotel – the hotel giant’s hip, yet affordable brand – on Baltimore’s Central Avenue next to the developed Fallsway Spring & Equipment Co. building across from Little Italy. READ MORE
Planning Board Gives Thumbs Up to Hotel, Office Tower at Bethesda Police Station Site
Source: Bethesda Magazine
The Montgomery County Planning Board approved a package of plans for Avocet Tower, which will bring a roughly 220-room AC Hotel by Marriott and 400,000 square feet of office space to downtown Bethesda. The 1.5 acre project site at the corner of Montgomery and Wisconsin avenues is now occupied by a county police station, Carpet Palace and an office building. READ MORE
Baltimore’s Sagamore Pendry makes Travel Leisure list of best new hotels in the world
Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore gets to hobnob with the likes of Madagascar, Beverly Hills, Paris and Dubai in a magazine best-of list that dubs the Saramore Pendry one of the planet’s top new hotels. The hotel inside Fells Point’s historic Rereation Pier made Travel Leisure’s list earlier this month of “The Best New Hotels in the World” along with 55 other “game changing” properties. READ MORE