Sending Office: Honorable Ed Case
Ensure State and Local Community Authority to Address Illegal Vacation Rentals
Deadline for Original Cosponsorship – COB Wednesday, September 4th
Is your community one of a multitude throughout our country suffering from the negative effects of illegal vacation rentals? Effects that include unavailability of affordable housing, avoidance of standard consumer protections and loss of state and local
If so, please join me as an original cosponsor of the Protecting Local Authority and Neighborhoods (PLAN) Act. This bill would end abusive litigation by internet-based short-term rental platforms attempting to avoid accountability for profiting from illegal
rentals and strike down local regulations aimed at curbing this illegal activity and its widespread negative impacts.
Over the past decade-plus, the short-term vacation rental industry has exploded through the internet-based marketing platforms of Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, Flipkey and others. While some communities welcome this activity, which is largely conducted in residential
neighborhoods, many others are concerned with several negative consequences.
These include the loss of affordable housing as residential units are converted to transient accommodations for tourists, and the failure of many unit owners and rental operators to comply with basic consumer safety, public accommodations and tax requirements
as must the legal lodging industry. A survey of related news also makes clear that commercial lodging activity in otherwise residential neighborhoods gives rise to serious community safety and disruption issues.
As a result, from Hawai‘i to Maine state and local governments are updating their land use laws to put parameters around short-term rental activity, tailored to reflect local concerns and as always has been the case with land use regulation. However, the
short-term rental online platforms have repeatedly gone to court to strike down these laws, claiming Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA 230) preempts local efforts to stop the listing and booking of illegal rentals by these platforms.
They have sued cities large and small – including New York City, Boston, Miami, Anaheim, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Chicago, Miami Beach, Palm Beach and Santa Monica – to protect a business model they know relies in large part on concealing the illegal
activity of their third-party operators.
The PLAN Act would amend CDA 230 to make clear the statute does not shield platforms when they facilitate illegal rental bookings. Platforms would also be accountable if they fail to stop booking rentals after receiving notice from a private property owner
that short-term rentals are prohibited at that location.
This is a narrow, targeted change to the statute to ensure short-term rental companies and internet platforms comply with state and local planning, zoning, rental, labor and tax laws and end their abusive stretching of CDA 230’s original intent. State attorneys
general, mayors, and local officials have called for similar updates to CDA 230 to enable them to uphold their local laws and protect citizens living and working in their communities.
Please join me in calling for increased accountability for powerful internet platforms abusing CDA 230 and profiting from illegal activity by supporting the PLAN Act. For more information or to be added as a cosponsor, please contact Anthony Ching in my
office at email@example.com or 5-2726.
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0