Apparently the University of Cincinnati's commencement weekend was a big deal for more than just grads. According to a press release from Airbnb, local hosts from the short-term rental site made a record $218,000 and accommodated 2,400 guests between May 2 and May 4.
"This represented the largest surge of guests to Cincinnati in the history of Airbnb’s platform," said the release. "Graduation weekends are known to fill local hotels to peak capacity, even with higher rates. Home sharing and vacation rentals have allowed cities like Cincinnati to utilize pre-existing resources — people’s homes — to expand lodging capacity and retain as many visitors as possible."
In 2018 (again, according to this release), Hamilton County hosts made a combined $8.5 million and hosted 80,000 visitors.
This $$ news comes on the heels of recent short-term rental regulations passed by Cincinnati City Council.
Council member David Mann has been spearheading efforts to regulate short-term rentals and his latest ordinance, which passed unanimously through council's Budget and Finance Committee in April, will impose a 7-percent excise tax on short-term rental operators starting in July, and require them to register with the city and self-certify that their properties are in compliance with city code. Proceeds from the tax would go into the city's affordable housing trust fund.
The new version tweaks language found in Mann's last proposal to clarify that the city won't actively seek out Airbnb properties for code compliance inspections and will only respond to complaints. The new language also clarifies rules around nuisance complaints such as public intoxication and gives owners 15 days instead of seven days to respond to code compliance issues.
There are roughly 880 short-term rental units in Cincinnati, most in Over-the-Rhine, Downtown, Walnut Hills, Northside and other popular neighborhoods. That's up from about 830 last November and 640 the site showed this time last year. About 70 percent of those are rentals encompassing an entire house, condo or apartment — up from 60 percent this time last year. The city has seen a 41-percent annual growth rate in those rentals in recent years.
Critics of the industry say it causes noise and other nuisances from guests, incentivizes landlords to pull traditional apartments off the long-term rental market and exacerbates housing shortages, especially in large cities where investment groups operate large numbers of short-term rentals. Cincinnati has a roughly 30,000-unit gap when it comes to housing affordable to its lowest-income residents, though short-term rental supporters claim the industry hasn't contributed to that gap.
Mann's ordinance will prohibit any property owner receiving public subsidies to provide affordable housing from offering that property for rent on sites like Airbnb.
“We don’t want you to have the opportunity to operate Airbnb if you’re receiving support to operate subsidized housing,” Mann said in committee. “We don’t want you to take that unit and put it on Airbnb.”
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