Group pushes for regulation of Airbnb

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — The Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association says Airbnb is making it hard to compete and want property owners who post their homes and rooms on the website to be regulated in order to level the playing field.

The group says they don’t want people who are listing their properties on Airbnb to go away, they just want them to play by the same rules they do.

“Once you take one dollar to become a lodging operation you’ve now become a business – you’ve gone from residential to becoming a lodging facility,” says Karri Thiel, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association.

She says once a homeowner turns their home into a business, then they have a whole new set of rules to follow.

“You have to be licensed, you have to be inspected, and you have to be insured, you have to pay sales tax, you have to room tax, and as long as you go through that process you can do what you want to do,” she says.

Thiel says because so many people on the website don’t follow those standards, they’re able to offer the service at a much lower cost.

“Unfair competition, absolutely,” says Kris Ullmer of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.

“Legitimate bnb’s, hotel-motels, are paying all the business expenses that they need to in order to comply with the laws whereas the Airbnb properties do not,” says Ullmer.

Greg Krumholz posts one of his properties on the website and says classifying his home as a business is unfair.

“It’s similar to a yard sale, let’s say, versus a second hand store. Or it’s similar to selling your car on Craigslist versus a used car lot,” Krumholz says.

“If you’re going to be in it full time to make a living then you do have to be regulated, but this is strictly a part-time thing,” he says.

Bob Stocki also posts his home on the website and says while he’s against regulation, there’s something to be said about meeting safety standards and he wouldn’t mind if he needed to become licensed to keep renting out his property.

“It should be something that’s good. If it isn’t good, well then I don’t know too many people that like garbage,” Stocki said.

The topic will be discussed at this week’s Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association annual conference being held at the Tundra Lodge near Lambeau Field.