New Airbnb Laws, Taxes, & Hosting Advice

I wanted to keep you posted on more news about Airbnb regulation:

  • Brian Chesky (co-founder of Airbnb) spoke about how Airbnb is helping the middle-class make ends meet. He also let the public know that they have spent nearly $8MM fighting Prop F. Prop F is the ballot measure in San Francisco that will restrict Airbnb rentals in private homes as well as reward neighbors for telling on local Airbnb hosts.
  • Starting October 15th, Airbnb will start collecting taxes in Washington state. Airbnb has started collecting taxes in a number of cities/states, including San Francisco, Portland, Amsterdam, Chicago, Malibu, North Carolina, Oakland, Oregon, Palo Alto, Paris, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Rhode Island, San Diego, San Jose, and Washington D.C.
  • Airbnb will, from Thursday, October 1, start charging users in Paris a tourist tax. The levy could raise millions of euros for Paris. This is a tax on GUESTS, not on hosts. The charging of the tax — which tourists should have to pay every time they spend a night in paid accommodation in France — is also seen as a move by Airbnb to keep the French taxman happy and respond to some of the complaints by the hotel industry. Will this become the new legislative standard?

Another question I get asked frequently is: What’s your #1 piece of Airbnb hosting advice?

From my experience, the best advice I can give you is to market an honest accommodation, or experience, and deliver on that promise every time. If you can do that, then you will be a successful with hosting on Airbnb.

Sound too simple? Let me explain.

Truthful Representation
Not everyone is looking to stay in a Ritz-Carlton type of Airbnb. Some travelers are on a tight budget and maybe your place can fill that need. The demand for all types of rentals, premium or budget, is there, so make sure you fill your niche appropriately. Do not over-promise and under-deliver. Guests hate that…and I’m sure you do too.

If you truthfully represent your rental in the pictures, descriptions, and price/value, guests will self-select where they want to be and create expectations of their purchase. When their actual experiences meet their expectations, you have had a successful booking!

Standards of Hospitality
As an Airbnb host, you must now acknowledge you are in the hospitality industry and your guests expect to be treated accordingly.

The standards for hospitality are higher in everything including cleanliness, responsiveness, and value. Success is 100% in the details, so don’t overlook the small things. Leaving one stray hair in the sink or on the floor can take your cleanliness score from 5 stars to 2 stars.

If you’re wondering “how can I tell what the standards for hospitality are?”…I’ll tell you.

Prepare your space as if you are hosting your significant other’s parents for the first time. Junk is put away, floors are cleaned, fridge is tidied up, new trash bags are in, extra towels are laid out…you get the picture. If you forget a detail once, just make a note and don’t miss it again.

Be a Human
Lastly, don’t forget: you will be working directly with the public. Maybe some guests are staying at your place to celebrate a very special moment in their life, or are using this trip as a way to treat themselves. Either way, be compassionate and not a heartless business person. The human connection and community is what makes Airbnb such a unique and beautiful tool. Make it a point to work together with your guests to create a win-win experience even if that means you take the short end of the stick sometimes.


Support your fellow home sharing hosts and short-term rental operators by sharing this post. You will give them the knowledge they need to become the best host they can be!


This article originally debuted as an email newsletter to our Weekly Digest subscribers on 10/06/2015. If you’d like to receive our weekly newsletter featuring hosting tips, tricks, and resources please subscribe on our home page.


This article was written by Jim Breese. Jim is an Airbnb expert and creator of LearnAirbnb.com, a premium source of information to help you become a smarter Airbnb host.