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Airbnb Bill Passes House On Second Attempt

Some cities are considering regulating short-term rentals like those made popular by VRBO.

Photo: VRBO.com

Some cities are considering regulating short-term rentals like those made popular by VRBO.

Lawmakers approved the so-called “Airbnb bill,” which bars local governments from banning short-term rentals, on its second attempt at passage in the House.

Some Indiana communities have sought to ban residents from renting out their homes, like through the website Airbnb. Rep. Matt Lehman’s (R-Berne) bill would prevent that, with some guidelines: for instance, people couldn’t rent out their homes for more than 180 days total in a year.

Lehman put his bill up for passage last week and it failed to garner at least 51 ‘Yea’ votes needed for passage. But because it was not defeated, Lehman could bring it back – which he did Tuesday.

Lehman acknowledges that there are still issues to resolve in the bill.

“I’ve talked to some senators who’ve said ‘I’d like to get a hold of this. We need to talk about this 180-day issue; we need to talk about this tax issue.’ That’s fine; I’m open to that discussion,” Lehman says. “That’s why I’m asking you to give this to the Senate.”

Those who spoke against the bill the first time repeated their criticisms: they say the measure takes away local control.

House Minority Leader Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City), who opposes the bill, says stopping its passage would have simply preserved the status quo.

“If you have an ordinance against short-term rentals in your town, they remain. And if you don’t like them, you get to go yell at your town board, just like today. If you live in an area where you can do these short-term rentals, you get to keep doing them to your heart’s content,” Pelath says.

The bill this time passed 53 to 40 – 15 lawmakers changed their votes from either ‘Nay’ to ‘Yea’ or vice versa.

The legislation now heads to the Senate.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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