Bill to regulate and tax AirBnBs in St. Louis City coming this month

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The City of St. Louis is missing out on potentially millions of dollars of uncollected taxes from short-term rentals, but that soon could change.

Several members of the Board of Aldermen are working on a bill or multiple bills that would establish regulations of short-term rentals like AirBnBs. They’ve hosted several town hall meetings and Alderman Christine Ingrassia says they are nearly ready to present the bill that they hope would even the playing field for more traditional lodging and AirBnb-type rentals, while still protecting the entrepreneurial spirit in the city.

Stacy Kistler runs Napoleon’s Retreat Bed and Breakfast in Lafayette Square. She says she almost gave up hope on the issue.

“We were talking to the city three years ago saying we need your help,” said Kistler.

Now, the number of short-term rentals in the city has grown exponentially.

Lana Camp Jessop is one of the many people in St. Louis operating AirBnBs.

“Tourism is amazing for it,” said Camp Jessop whose Airbnb is right off Cherokee Street.

Both Camp Jessop and Kistler have attended the recent town halls, and both are anxious to see what the city does in terms of new regulations.

Kistler says it’s important that it includes inspection requirements and a way for the city to collect taxes.

“Last year it would have been $1.1 million just from AirBnB,” said Kistler.

According to AirBnb, they collect taxes from guests including a Missouri state sales tax and city sales tax. Missouri earned $306,000 in sales tax in the first month they started collecting from AirBnB. But the city does not currently collect the taxes they are owed.

Ingrassia says they believe the decision would have to go to the voters to collect that tax.

A representative for AirBnB said they have been in discussion for more than a year to figure out the issue.

It would be a companion piece to the bill that would create regulations. Regulations that could include new fees and would differentiate from AirBnBs where the owner lives on site versus off-site.

“I understand regulations are necessary I just hope it doesn’t become a thing where our business becomes compromised,” said Camp Jessop.

Ingrassia said they plan to present the bills in the next two weeks.

News 4 reached out to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office but received no response.

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