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Advocacy

The Pennsylvania Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (PABBI) is a non-profit 501 c 6 membership based trade association governed by a Board of Directors. A key part of our mission statement is ...building strong relationships with key industry leaders; and lobbying for state laws and codes that fairly deal with the needs of innkeepers and guests. 

ADVOCACY EFFORTS

Innkeepers wear many hats and are faced with a changing landscape such as ADA compliance, Online Travel Agent (OTA) platforms, and most importantly the increase in short-term rentals. 

Get to Know Your Legislators

To assist our members and others in communicating with their elected officials, PABBI hosted a Legislative Boot Camp with speakers from the PA Restaurant and Lodging Association. View the webinar. PRLA put together a helpful document when communicating with your legislators

Many of you may have a good working relationship with your legislators and communicate with them on a regular basis. If you have not met your legislators, we encourage you to introduce yourself by sending a letter or scheduling a meeting with them in their District Office. Or invite them to your property for a tour and breakfast. To help you introduce yourself, PABBI has put together a sample letter. It is important to establish a relationship with your legislators before there is an issue or crisis that you need help with. Find Your Legislator

Once you have a meeting scheduled with your legislator, the PABBI Overview and Talking Points documents will help you prepare for your visit.

2024 Legislative Priorities

Ensuring Safety and Fairness as it relates to Short-Term Rentals

Passage of HR 425  

House Resolution 425 was introduced by Representative LIndsay Powell and Representative Jennifer O'Mara in early May and was assigned to the Housing & Community Development Committee chaired by Representative P. Michael Sturla. This resolution will direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the growth and changes of short-term rentals operating in Pennsylvania. PABBI sent a letter to Chair Sturla and all the members of the Housing & Development Committee.

On June 3 an amendment was made to HR 425 designating the Joint State Government Commission do the study rather than the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee. HR 425 will be voted on by the Housing & Community Development Committee on June 11. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TODAY.

Please send an email to Representative Sturla (RepSturla@PAHouse.net) with a cc to his Chief of Staff Tim Scott (TScott@PAHouse.net) indicating that your support the passage of HR 425. 

Background

PABBI and the PA Restaurant and Lodging Association (PRLA), whose members include hoteliers and Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) also known as Convention & Visitors Bureaus (CVBs), have been working together to level the playing field with short-term rentals in terms of providing safe and comfortable lodging and fair business operating requirements (licensing, insurance, occupancy limits, etc.). Read the joint Short-Term Rental Position Policy.

Short-term rentals, home sharing, vacation rentals, Airbnb: regardless of what you call the concept, it is clear that the sharing economy has worked its way into virtually every residential area in the country. Short-term rentals are defined as the rental of all or part of a residential dwelling unit for a duration of occupancy of less than 30 days. 

PABBI is requesting Townships/Boroughs/Cities to develop and implement a short-term rental ordinance that provides protection to neighborhoods and residents as well as levels the playing field with bed and breakfasts and hotels/motels/inns. PABBI has developed a position paper entitled "Requirements for Short-Term Rental Ordinances."

PABBI is asking all PA Bed & Breakfasts to find out if their Township/Borough/City has a short-term rental ordinance. It is imperative that communities take a pro-active approach in regulating short-term rentals to prevent unintended outcomes like what recently occurred in Pittsburgh putting the lives of short-term rentals and neighbors in jeopardy. Both PABBI and PRLA have sent letters to Pittsburgh City Council respectivefully offering suggestions on how to improve the pending short-term rental ordinance. Copies of the letters are included as part of PABBI's Short-Term Rental Toolkit designed to help PA innkeepers contact their local officials regarding a short-term rental ordinance in their community.

The Director of PABBI has been selected to Chair the Short-Term Rental Committee formed in 2023 as part of the Tourism & Lodging Committee overseen by the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association. The goal of the Short-Term Rental Committee is to revisit the landscape of short-term rentals and their impact on the lodging industry. Over the past several legislative sessions, a Bill has been introduced to the House Tourism Committee to regulate short-term rentals that would aid in the collection of County Hotel taxes and assist in promoting local and regional tourism assets. Given the feedback of House Tourism Committee members, it is time to review the language of the Bill with a larger group of stakeholders to determine the best way to level the playing field with Short-Term Rentals. 

To get the conversation started, read the letter that PABBI delivered to every PA Senator and Representative on April 28, 2023 regarding the importance of leveling the playing field with short-term rentals.

Protect and Increase Statewide Tourism Funding

For Pennsylvania to maximize its potential competing with other states to attract tourists, it must fund tourism efforts at $39 million that does not include legislative earmarks. 

For too long, tourism funding has remained stagnant in Pennsylvania at about $4 million. Research suggests that PA's tourism promotion efforts are significantly underfunded, especially when compared to surrounding and similar-sized states. View the 2022 Report by Tourism Economics related to tourism funding in PA.

Statewide Legislation enabling the creation of Tourism Improvement Districts 

Given the lack of tourism funding in Pennsylvania, it's essential the industry is allowed to collaborate and grow. A tourism improvement district (TID) is a stable source of funding for efforts to increase tourism to a particular region. Funds raised through a self-assessment on lodging stays are used to market and develop initiatives that benefit businesses in the district. 

Senator Devlin Robinson has circulated a co-sponsorship memo with intentions to file legislation allowing for tourism improvment districts in Pennsylvania in May 2023. A bill is currently being drafted that would: be enabling legislation allowing each individual county to determine whether if they want to created a TID; allow an assessment on a lodging business within a county, and decisions related to those funds would be at the discretion of a TID board made up of members of the assessed community.

American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Legislation is needed to restore the integrity of the ADA law by addressing the unseemly practice of “drive-by” and “surf-by” lawsuits. The bill needs to reform Title III of the ADA, which covers private businesses open to the public, by specifying clear, unambiguous rules for identifying and correcting ADA access violations before allowing litigation or a drawn-out settlement process. If a business fails to correct an identified violation following a notice and a defined period of time, then the right for seeking legal recourse still applies under the ADA.

In the past, PABBI has sent a letter to each of Pennsylvania's two U.S. Senators and 18 U.S. Representatives along with supporting documentation that this is a critical issue that needs to be addressed. Below is the letter that PABBI sent along with a sample letter for you to use. PABBI is tracking a Supreme Court case that could curtail the filings against lodging establishments for not being in complaince with the ADA law. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments and issue a ruling in its next term, which starts in October 2023 and ends in June 2024.

Sample Letter to Your U.S. Senator and Representative

Letter Sent by PABBI

 

PASSED LEGISLATION

Act 109

In 2018, the legislature overwhelmingly passed Act 109, previously known as HB 1511. This monumental legislation closed the online travel company loophole to ensure that online travel agents are remitting tax on the correct, retail rate of the room. The revenue from closing that loophole is to be deposited in a restricted account that is to be used to promote statewide tourism in Pennsylvania. 

Alcohol Reform

Act 39, alcohol reform, took effect on Monday, August 8, 2016. The law states Bed & Breakfasts (10 rooms or less) may provide one bottle of wine to its paying guests at check-in while in an overnight status so long as that wine is produced by a licensed limited winery. A Limited Winery is defined as a winery that produces up to 200,000 gallons of alcoholic ciders, wines and wine coolers per year. 

This is something the B&B industry had been working on for about 10 years. Due to the tenacity of the PABBI Board of Directors working with the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA), this was a huge win for PABBI.

Airbnb Agreement with the PA Department of Revenue

An agreement between the PA Department of Revenue and Airbnb, authorized Airbnb to collect and remit the PA state 6% occupancy tax for any bookings made through their site effective July 1, 2016. Therefore, do not charge the guest for the 6% state tax on any reservations received from Airbnb. That step will be taken care of by Airbnb. You still need to report the income to the state each month or quarter which ever applies to your business. Airbnb is remitting only the state tax, they are NOT remitting the local hotel occupancy tax.