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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. In 2020, innkeepers are also navigating an unprecedented pandemic crisis.

Pandemic Crisis

On behalf of the PA Bed & Breakfast industry, PABBI is taking a leadership role in communicating with National and State officials about the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020, PABBI wrote to Congressional leadership about the need for bailout legislation for small businesses in the travel industry. This letter was also sent to numerous national associations working on behalf of the hospitality industry during this crisis. Click here to read the letter. In July 2020, PABBI wrote to Congressional leadership outlining the bed and breakfast priorities for the COVID-4 package being negotiated known as the Heros Act. Click here to read the letter.

PABBI has met with several State Representatives including Kerri Benninghoff, House Majority Leader; Representative Brian Cutler, Speaker of the House; and Representative Zimmerman (represents a portion of Lancaster County) about introducing a bill that would provide a grant program for Bed & Breakfasts. Representative Zimmerman is willing to introduce a bill in the new legislative session in January 2021. PABBI also sent a letter to all PA Representatives outlining the needs of our industry and the long-term economic impact of this pandemic crisis.

PABBI works closely with the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA) and supports their efforts on both the state and national level for funding and resources for the hospitality industry that has been devastated by this pandemic crisis.

 

Short-term Rentals

A major change in our industry is the growth of short-term rental websites, most notably Airbnb, HomeAway and others. In just a few short years these sites have emerged as an influential and ingrained part of the short-term lodging industry.  PABBI believes there are some business aspects to these short-term rental websites that present a concern and require ongoing advocacy.

Short-term rental websites like Airbnb are billion dollar companies. PABBI has prepared a Short-Term Rental Toolkit for use by innkeepers that includes talking points, sample letters and articles and links to research studies.

PABBI has been working on your behalf to pass legislation (HB 787) that regulates short-term rentals. House Bill 787 will aid in the collection of County Hotel taxes and assist in promoting local and regional tourism assets. It will also provide information to the local municipal authorities to ensure compliance with local zoning ordinances. Click here to view the bill.

Status: In May, 2019, the bill was voted out of the House Tourism & Recreational Development Committee; however, the bill did not come up for a vote by the House of Representatives before recessing for the summer.  Identical legislation had passed the House in 2018 by a vote of 177-14. It did not move in the Senate.

PABBI had engaged the services of LaTorre Communications in February 2020 to develop a plan to get HB 787 re-energized, conduct editorial board meetings, and write letters to the editor on the importance of ensuring short-rentals are adhering to the same safety standards as licensed bed and breakfasts. However, when the pandemic crisis hit in March, to continue with our plans would not be appropriate. PABBI is working with LaTorre to issue a series of press releases entitled Wake Up in a “Safer” State that showcases that bed and breakfasts are a safer lodging option over hotels or short-term rentals. Press releases will be issued in September and October 2020.

 

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.

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. 

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 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.