Legislative Testimony for LB57: Prohibit regulation of short-term rentals and provide for taxation agreements
Good afternoon, Chairman Wayne and members of the Urban Affairs Committee. My name is Nicole Fox, and I am Director of Government Relations at the Platte Institute. I am here to testify in support of LB57.
In recent years, the internet has created new economic opportunities by connecting property owners and renters through home-sharing platforms like Airbnb, VRBO and Flipkey. Such platforms provide cheaper and more convenient options for travelers and allow homeowners to earn extra income by renting out a room or their entire home.
An outright ban on homeowners using their own property to earn income by providing a short-term residential rental—also known as home-sharing—should not be on the list of policy options available to cities and villages.
LB 57 would prohibit cities or villages from issuing ordinances or other regulations that prohibit the use of a property as a short-term rental. We understand that this bill would not apply to regulations of a private entity, including a homeowner’s association organized under the Condominium Property Act or the Nebraska Condominium Act.
LB57 protects the opportunity for home-sharing throughout Nebraska, while retaining the ability of local governments to establish regulations for the specific purposes of public health and safety. Legitimate concerns for the public welfare are, ultimately, the only true justifications for regulations on home-sharing.
I’d like to share the story of a couple I met this past summer. I was attending one of the College World Series games in downtown Omaha, and in conversation learned that this couple was not from a state of one of the teams participating in the College World Series – they were locals. They were a retired couple dependent on the money they had worked hard to save. Like many retired couples, they hoped to travel. They had 2 daughters – one was engaged, and the other they anticipated would be soon. This couple saw renting part of their home as a way to supplement their retirement income, so they could do things like travel and help pay for their daughters’ weddings. Their home was booked for rentals every day of the College World Series. When large events such as the College World Series comes to Omaha, hotel rooms can be pricey and difficult to come by, and home-sharing allows those coming to Nebraska from out of state more options.
Nearly any time it is proposed that a new form of entrepreneurship no longer be prohibited by law, it can be expected that other, similar businesses or government entities that regulate those types of businesses will oppose the less restrictive regulations. The concept of local control should never be used to favor some established businesses over others to limit competition and the economic freedoms of potential entrepreneurs.
Laws similar to what is being proposed in LB57 have passed in recent years in Arizona, Tennessee and Indiana. In California, residents in Palm Springs, a popular tourist destination, overwhelmingly voted down a proposal that would have banned home-sharing in single-family homes.
On behalf of the Platte Institute, I’d like to thank Sen. Morfeld for introducing this legislation. This is good policy, and I ask that you advance LB57 to General File.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.