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Advocacy

PABBI is a non-profit 501 c 6 independent 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. 

Write your State Senator and Representative - Leveling the Playing Field (HB 787)

We, as innkeepers, wear so 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.
 
Airbnb (one of many short-term rental platforms) has grown into a lodging colossus, offering more than 6 million places to stay in more than 191 countries. Its listings outnumber those of the top six hotel chains combined, helping the company reportedly generate more than $1 billion in revenue in the 3rd quarter of 2018. It is valued by investors at $31 billion, making it the country’s second most valuable startup, after Uber. By comparison, Hilton & Marriott’s current market capitalizations are $25 billion and $43 billion, respectively.
 
How are we, small B&B owners, going to survive? By everyone getting involved!
 
PABBI is working hard on your behalf to pass legislation (HB 787) that regulates short-term rentals. But it is going to take more than a few innkeepers to get this legislation passed.  The short-term rental toolkit includes sample letters to send to your legislators and your local zoning officer or manager. 
 
Please take the time to write a letter or, even better, visit your legislator in his or her home office. Find out what your community is doing to regulate short-term rentals. Let us know how we can help. PABBI is available to attend meetings at the local level if we know about them.
 
PABBI understands you are all busy running your own inns, however the efforts to bring awarness to the short-term rental situation in our state is a grassroots campaign, reaching many facets of the Commonwealth. This campaign begins with you. PABBI has given you the tools, now is the time to use them.
 
Your legislators want to hear from you. YOU are their CONSTITUENT and you are the VOTER. The naysayers to this Bill are the online home sharing sites; however, they don’t have a vote to elect your Legislators. 

In addition to sending a written letter, please schedule a visit with your Representative and Senator in their home districts. To assist with your visit, talking points are below. An in-person visit is the most effective for achieving results. 

Sample Letter to Your Representative

Sample Letter to Your Senator

 

Write Your U.S. Senator and Representative

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

 

Pending Legislation

PABBI is tracking the following legislative bill that impacts the Bed & Breakfast Industry.

HB 787

PABBI supports the passage of this bill that would ensure a level playing field between short-term rental hosts and professional bed and breakfast owners. This bill 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 and is currently in the House of Representatives for a vote.  Identical legislation passed the House in 2018 by a vote of 177-14. It did not move in the Senate.

Short-Term Rental Toolkit

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. We need everyone’s help to support our efforts in order to be successful in leveling the playing field.

Please take action today! PABBI has prepared a Short-Term Rental Toolkit for your use that includes talking points, sample letters and articles and links to research studies. Please click here.

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.