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Canton Airbnb hosts: Give us a vote – News – The Repository

The Canton City Council approved a moratorium that will limit Airbnb and similar rentals to multi-family homes until the beginning of June, when the council should decide whether to make the rule permanent

CANTON Patrick and Jordan Gerber should have a guest this weekend.

Instead, the residents of West Park said they would pay a cancellation fee and risk losing their Superhost status on Airbnb because of a city charter. [19659004] The city council approved a moratorium on April 2, restricting Airbnb and similar rentals to multi-family homes. It will take until the beginning of June when the Council will decide whether the scheme should become permanent.

Gerbers teaching in Tuscarawas County live in a colonial house on 1

1th Street, which is intended for single-family home use.

"We are really half pleased with the moratorium because it gives them time to hear our voices," said Patrick Gerber. "But, it's a really unfortunate thing for the city … For our travelers, for our guests coming in, it's very confusing."

Hotel, rental or otherwise

Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows people to book accommodations around the world

Hosts can rent their entire home or part of their living space. The guests can stay for days or months.

The different options have led city governments to classify Airbnbs as non-owner-managed rental properties, hotels and guesthouses. The confusion surrounding them prompted the Canton City Council, in conjunction with the moratorium, to postpone zoning and tax legislation.

A public hearing on the possible restriction of short-term rents to multi-tenant zones has been postponed from today to 4 June.

Law Director Joseph Martuccio said that his department was asked about the legality of Airbnbs after the residents of Market Heights heard of them earlier this year. The proposed amendments to the decree add language specific to short-term rentals "to meet the modern day."

"It's the refinement of the old concept of a pension," he said.

Martuccio said the zoning division of the Legal Department prohibits short-term rents in low-density residential areas. They are allowed in districts that are subdivided into apartment buildings – defined in the city code as buildings for "three or more independently living families".

A proposal recommended by the Cantonal Planning Commission and waiting for the city council vote would formalize this opinion. If approved, the rents would be classified as "limited accommodation". You would need a license, with fees between $ 25 and $ 500 based on occupancy and other security measures.

The city's Treasury Department, however, considers short term rentals taxable like hotels.

"It becomes the temporary lodging tax imposed as long as it is a temporary lodger that is less than 30 days," said Deputy Chief Treasurer Michael McEnaney. "Then, once it's more than 30 days, that person becomes a taxpayer of income tax."

McEnaney said that the 3 percent lodging tax applies, regardless of whether the property is self-occupied or not.

The city is late The fee is 6 percent of the overnight tax per month. The proposed change would set the late penalty at 10 percent after 30 days, 15 percent after 60 days and 20 percent after 90 days or a second violation.

McEnaney said that the penalties based on those elsewhere were determined to be a better fit for Canton. Other proposed changes make the Housing Tax Regulation "cleaner and firmer".

According to records compiled by executive specialist JR Rinaldi, the city knows almost a dozen objects listed on Airbnb.

Hanging Hosts

The confusion about short-term rentals is not limited to city officials.

The Gerbers, who were Airbnb's hosts in Perry Township until they moved to Canton last fall, said they had searched for rules before listing a guest room online with accountants and local officials on lodging tax.

"No one has ever been able to give us an answer to local taxes," said Patrick. "Well, we're more than ready and think it's a good thing for the city to levy a tax on Airbnbs, just like in a hotel."

Since the city of Canton did not contact them, he said he would try to get more information about what is required before taxes are filed this year.

Other Airbnb hosts received letters from the Legal Department a month or two ago.

Renee Pilone said the letter informed her about her 19th street NE home on Airbnb was illegal and she had to contact the Ministry of Finance. She called to ask what she owed.

"Nobody had an answer for me," she said.

When Pilone later paid the taxes for the accommodation, Pilone said the staff told her that it would probably not be too late for punishment because the collections just started. Then she received a letter about late fees, which she also paid.

Pilons found in Washington D.C. lives, said she bought the vacant house in a short sale. She stays there about once a month when she visits her family.

Prior to listing her three-bedroom home on Airbnb in the spring of 2016, Pilone said she was contacting the construction department. Her house received an inspection and she paid the $ 80 per unit annual fee for registering non-owners.

"If you're a rental house, how can you be a hotel, and how can you be an Airbnb?" Said Pilone. "They just seem to have all the taxes and fees they can get."

Lavell Payne has been renting rooms and their entire home on Airbnb since December at the 32nd Street NW in Market Heights, but has not registered non-owners. She said that it is still her address of record and a second home.

Your last move was caused by Nationwide's relocation of operations.

"I would like to keep my property in Stark County," she said. Moving was not a choice I had met recklessly or honestly. "

Payne said she was happy to pay the tourist tax that was not mentioned when she contacted the building and the code officers before listing her home She has asked a council member for clarification on June 9.

"We have people who have booked months in advance to come to Canton in Aultman," she said.

Payne said, the hospital worker Wants to stay in the city rather than in the Belden Village to hunt for a house.

Neighbors warn the city council

The frequently changing faces next door brought Airbnb practice to the attention of the residents of Market Heights.

Jonathon Lalewicz, President of the Market Heights Neighborhood Association said residents were worried that Airbnbs would change the character of the single-family neighborhood.

"Everyone recognizes that there are areas of the city where this is true We are only worried that home ownership rates in Canton City will continue to decline due to the large increase in rental housing in neighborhoods, "he said.

Inhabitants of Market Heights have made public comments During recent Council meetings, an Airbnb next door was described as a hotel. They asked the city council if leases in low-density residential areas are appropriate.

A massive house party on an Airbnb in Seven Hills, about 9 miles south of Cleveland, made news in January. Similar news was posted on the Ward 9 Facebook page about a party at an Airbnb home in Bath Township. The police responded to both parties, and the latter injured a teenager on an apparent drive-by shoot.

Lalewicz said he has no specific problems with Airbnbs in Market Heights, but the concern is there. At a recent neighborhood meeting, residents suggested a "break" to give the city council time to research.

Councilors Frank Morris, D-9, and Edmond Mack, D-8, sponsored the resulting moratorium. Mack has suggested looking at advice on how other cities, such as Cleveland, have handled short-term rentals.

In the Canton of North, media reports report that Akron and Fairlawn have essentially banned short-term rentals. Cleveland defined short-term rentals as stays of 30 or fewer days and established rules and a tax treaty with Airbnb prior to the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Airbnb Ambassador

Martuccio, who applies the moratorium to Airbnb reservations, which are in prohibited areas the problem as something "generation". Some homeowners want the extra income, and others do not want to live near short-term tenants.

"These competing interests must be balanced as the Council applies due diligence," he said.

Income However, only half of the reasons why tanners became Airbnb hosts.

"We just fell in love with the model of hosting and showing our city and gave them an affordable place to stay," Jordan Gerber

The walls of their guest room, which they were to list on Airbnb until they became foster parents, show local Art. On a desk is a basket of essentials – water bottles, toothpaste, a lint roller – and a book by Stark County Convention & Visitors' Bureau alongside other pamphlets and a welcome letter.

Patrick Gerber said they are like "mini-tourist advisers" who often guide people to the cantonal institutions in the city center. They had more than 70 guests, from places like China, who chose the sharing economy over more generic and expensive hotels.

"We did not have a bad experience," he said. "It was amazing overall."

The Gerbers and other local Airbnb hosts indicated that they use the site's peer reviews and news to inform themselves about guests prior to their arrival. Airbnb also offers hosts for up to $ 1 million in property or injury claims.

"We thoroughly review the people who stay in our house," Payne said.

The Market Heights homeowner said she has turned away some visitors, including a traveling tattoo artist, because it's still a family-friendly home.

Local hosts say they have also invested much of their Airbnb income back into their homes. Payne has turned most of her home into a smart home. The Gerbers renovated the formerly abandoned colonial period they had bought, felled a rotten tree and planned to turn their loft into a master bedroom.

Pilone also made repairs, repaired a water pipe and removed trees. empty house. It was built in 1927.

"A house that obviously needs a lot of work to keep up, so the income from the Airbnb was really helpful," she said.

None of the Airbnb hosts oppose the taxation and regulation of short-term rentals, but the rules want to be clear and consistent. They said that, above all, they want to share their experiences with city officials in order to find a solution.

"I think before the city council makes a decision, they should really try to reach the hosts and sit down on the way the system works, and try to compromise against a total ban reach, "said Payne.

Reach Kelly at 330-580-8323

or kelly.byer@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @kbyerREP

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