ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - Hundreds of short-term rental hosts in St. Louis are receiving letters from the city this week informing them of changes to the way they are regulated.
The city is re-classifying 240 short-term rental properties from residential to commercial. This change means they will have to pay the same 32% tax as small businesses. Up until now, the city was not taxing any short-term rentals.
The reclassification follows a state statute requiring certain properties pay commercial taxes.
“These are all non-owner occupied, typically single-family residences that are available throughout the entire year to be rented out on short-term rental basis," said St. Louis City Assessor Michael Dauphin.
The tax also includes some short-term rental duplexes. Dauphin says about half of the affected properties are owned by companies located out of state.
"It’s just not fair when you look at all the local, small business owners here, they have to pay this same tax. It wouldn’t be fair to have these businesses come in and not have to pay this same tax," said Dauphin.
Martin Casas runs an Air BnB in Tower Grove South above his comic book store, Apotheosis Comics & Lounge.
"We decided it would be better to operate or have control of the space upstairs in case we need to get in and do any maintenance," said Casas. “It’s a nice little bit of money that we’re not only able to pay for the space primarily, but also it goes into our business as well and helps us out.”
He does not live in the apartment he runs as an Air BnB, though he typically only rents it out a couple times a month. He has not received a letter from the city yet. His property falls under somewhat of a gray area, so there is a chance he may never get taxed.
The 240 short-term rental hosts who received letters have until June 21 to submit information to the city.
Dauphin says more hosts could receive letters if the city is tipped off about additional properties that were not included or if new ones pop up.