Palm Beach County Tax Collector suing Airbnb

Posted at 6:33 PM, Dec 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-07 18:33:31-05

A spokeswoman in the Palm Beach County Tax Collector's Office says there is an ongoing lawsuit between the tax collector and Airbnb.

Airbnb is a website that allows people to rent out their homes to travelers.

The spokeswoman with the tax collector's office says the website has not been paying a bed tax that hotels and inns pay.

Area real estate agents say they are seeing more people buying homes to turn them into vacation rentals.

"I think it has become a very hot business and people see other people doing that and think, 'I could do that too,' " Realtor and Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association President Linda Cullen said.

Cullen says some people in the neighborhood are renting out homes with a pool for as much as $3,500 per week in season.

"I don't have one next to me. But I can understand the concern and appreciate the people who don't want the extra traffic," Cullen said.

Realtor Jon Alford says neighborhoods like Flamingo Park are a hot zone because of their proximity to downtown and because they don't have a homeowner's association.

"You've got private rights, but you've got neighborhoods. As long as they are doing it legitimately and following the rules and being responsible," Alford said.

Cullen says it is not a big problem in Flamingo Park right now. But she's keeping an eye on it.

"The more there are, the greater the impact. It sort of snowballs," Cullen said.

The website encourages property owners to discuss rentals with their neighbors before signing up.

And a spokeswoman with the tax collector says the State Dept. of Revenue is working out an agreement with Airbnb to start collecting taxes.