Gov. Justice Signs Home Sharing Protection Bill Into Law

Updated 20 weeks ago Edited from a Press Release

CHARLESTON, WV -- Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company, applauds West Virginia Governor Jim Justice for signing SB 4, a bill that gives cities the ability to opt into a Home Rule Program that, among other things, protects the rights of West Virginia homeowners to share their homes as vacation rentals or short-term rentals.

 

SB 4, which makes the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program permanent, states that cities participating in the program cannot pass laws that “prohibit or limit the rental of a property” or “regulate the duration, frequency, or location of such rental.” The Governor signed the bill into law on Tuesday.


Tom Martinelli, Airbnb’s regional policy director, stated, “Today, West Virginia homeowners and the state’s tourism economy are the big winners.  The Governor’s signature on SB 4 means that Airbnb hosts can continue to earn extra income to help make ends meet and that tourists have affordable accommodation options in neighborhoods they otherwise wouldn’t frequent. We particularly want to thank Delegate Gary Howell and Senator Greg Boso for serving as champions for the West Virginia home sharing community.”


West Virginia’s action to ensure state protection of home sharing marks a growing U.S. trend. Just last week, Nebraska passed a similar law. Other states to protect short-term rentals within state law include Arizona, Indiana, Idaho, Florida and Tennessee.

 

In addition to benefiting homeowners and tourists, home sharing provides significant value to West Virginia cities through expanded lodging capacity when hotels sell out during big events, such as Morgantown during college football weekends, the Snowshoe region during ski season, and Charleston during legislative session.

 

Statewide data indicates that Airbnb and its host community appear to be complementing -- rather than competing with -- the West Virginia hotel industry. The 2018 report from the West Virginia Tourism Office indicates thatWV hotels experienced dynamic growth in occupancy, nights sold and overall revenue. This suggests that Airbnb is opening up the state to a new slice of prospective tourists by catering to travelers less able to afford hotels, those who desire to stay in neighborhoods or cities that lack hotels, and families who prefer to be together under one roof.


Airbnb recently announced the #1 most wish-listed (i.e. popular or desired) listings in the top 25 home sharing cities in West Virginia, which can be found here.

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