State senators and now Gov. Pete Ricketts are endorsing the age-old concept that it's nice to share.
The Legislature passed a bill (LB57) a week ago, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Adam Morfeld and signed Thursday by Ricketts, that would protect home-sharing rights and keep cities from banning the booking online of Nebraska short-term rentals of private residences, such as those advertised through VRBO and Airbnb.
The bill protects the private property rights of Nebraskans to open their homes to short-term rental, Ricketts said.
“This will allow Nebraska property owners to embrace the sharing economy, which is helping create new opportunities in communities around our state,” he said.
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Morfeld said it protects innovation and gives a boost to the state's tourism economy.
In 2018, Nebraska short-term rental hosts earned about $7.6 million just through Airbnb by sharing their homes. With about 82,000 guests, they doubled the number they hosted from the year before.
Short-term rentals are especially useful when hotels sell out for big events, including the Berkshire Hathaway investors meeting in Omaha and Husker football games in Lincoln.
With the bill, cities and counties would be able to develop regulations for nuisances, health and safety according to what is needed for local control.
The bill also authorizes the Nebraska Department of Revenue to develop tax agreements with short-term rental sites, to collect and distribute taxes on behalf of hosts, and would introduce new revenue for the state, Morfeld said.
“Short-term rentals reflect an important addition to our efforts to expand and promote tourism in Nebraska,” he said. “This law will empower Nebraska homeowners to supplement their income through home sharing while infusing a valuable new source of tax revenue for our state.”