County officials work proactively making sure Airbnb rental listings are in compliance

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CARLISLE, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. - State Representative David Zimmerman has been renting out a bedroom in his home in Lancaster County without allegedly paying the appropriate taxes. The Lancaster County Treasurer says, Zimmerman's address is also not registered in her office as a short-term lodging facility.

Cumberland County officials say, they've been working proactively to make sure people renting out proper are in compliance. About four times a year, county treasurer John Gross and his staff go through website like Airbnb and make note of any new listings they find. They just finished an updated list Tuesday morning.

"Ten new establishments," said Gross, while looking at paperwork."And we’ll see what kind of response we’ll get back from them.”

Gross finds many people listing their properties through websites like Airbnb are unaware they must register with his office and pay a local and state hotel tax. While his office has been proactively trying to make people aware of what they must do, so has the Cumberland Valley Visitor's Bureau.

“We’re just really concerned about guest safety," said Kristen Rowe, communications manager at Cumberland Valley Visitor's Bureau. "And leveling the playing field for all of our lodging properties.”

Rowe says part of the problem is how easy websites make it for people to rent out their properties.

"I don’t think people are out looking to make mistakes or not follow the rules," said Rowe. "but it’s so easy to sign up on Airbnb and since they’re an online platform they don’t make these requirements.”

Aside from staying up to date with county and township short-term lodging ordnances, people listing their properties should also check with their homeowners insurance agent to make sure they'll cover you to have people stay in your home.

“There might be some updates you need to do like put in sprinklers or exit signs things like that," said Rowe. "That other hotels and regular bed and breakfast have.”

If you are thinking about or are listing a rental property make sure to check in with your township and county treasurer to make sure you are in compliance with any ordinances.


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