Madison looking to pass resolutions to find Airbnb violators - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison looking to pass resolutions to find Airbnb violators

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The city of Madison is looking to pass several resolutions that would help them find hundreds of residents who are renting out their properties on short-term vacation rental websites like Airbnb and not paying required taxes.

Madison's common council will vote on two resolutions Tuesday, one asks websites to collect a nightly room tax upfront and another will hire Host Compliance LLC for $24,000 to find residents who aren't complying and assist them with meeting the city's regulations.

Under state law, those who are renting to tourists must pay a nightly room tax of nine percent and obtain a permit from public health, they must also have their spaces inspected and licensed with both the city and state.

But, the city believes there are more than 500 units in Madison available for rent on Airbnb and only 15 to 20 units are licensed and comply with city and state law.

Madison-resident Richard Slone is one of them.

"It puts me at a 14.5 percent disadvantage," said Slone, who complies with both city and state regulations for a one bedroom he rents out from his home on the city's east side. 

Slone has been using Airbnb for four years and started to comply with the city regulation about a year ago, he says since then he has had his home inspected by city officials and must charge up to 14.5 percent tax to his guests.

"It makes it much more difficult for me to make it worthwhile," said Slone.

Assistant City Attorney John Strange says the new resolutions aren't focused on punishing residents who don't comply but to make sure everyone using Airbnb and other short-term vacation rental websites are meeting city and state requirements.

"[Right now] it's very difficult to find [residents] and make sure they're compliant," said Strange.

However, as Slone continues to foot the bill, he says he has no hard feelings to those haven't been compliant.

"I don't think it's their responsibility,  I think it's the city's responsibility and Airbnb's responsibility to treat everyone equally," said Slone.

According to Strange, once a host becomes compliant, they will not be held to pay any back taxes for the months in which they weren't obeying the law.

If the resolution passes, the city says it will begin looking for violators starting in May.

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