This is big news. Hosts using the big sites are having their information given to local regulators for the purpose of collecting back taxes.
Full article here with a video:
City Council Approves More Vacation Rental Subpoenas
The Santa Barbara City Council is expanding its crackdown on illegal short-term vacation rentals.
The council approved a second round of subpoenas which will be sent to vacation rental companies, big and small.
"We have subpoenaed information from Airbnb, Home Away, VRBO, many of the big ones. We've achieved a lot of compliance with the local companies," said City Attorney Ariel Calonne.
The city is gathering more information about residents renting out their homes, at what cost and the time frame.
Bills for back transient occupancy taxes from operators and owners who have not paid are also going out in the mail.
"We've had good success with that as well. We are trying to be flexible with people and recognize where they acted in good faith and where they didn't," Calonne said.
The city also persuaded Airbnb to make changes to its website.
"We've gotten Airbnb to modify its website on responsible hosting so that it recognizes that Santa Barbara forbids vacation rentals. It recognizes that Santa Barbara collects taxes on vacation rentals as well," Calonne said.
The latest subpoena is expected to provide a clearer picture on the number homes being rented illegally in the city.
"Right now, it's looking more like we are between 350 and 1,000 at this point. But, we haven't tallied all of the results for the subpoenas yet. So the number could be much higher," Calonne said.
The subpoenas are expected to be officially mailed out in the next few weeks.