New Jersey’s second largest city wants to legalize Airbnb

October 12, 2015, 1:44 PM UTC
Photo by Bloomberg — Getty Images

When it comes to Airbnb, New Jersey’s second largest city is abiding by the “if you can’t beat them, join ’em” mantra.

On Monday, Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop will introduce legislation to legalize short-term rental booked through sites like Airbnb and HomeAway, according to The New York Times. The bill is expected to gain approval by the city’s legislature next month.

In exchange for allowing residents to put their couches, spare rooms, or entire apartments up for rent on Airbnb, the site will charge short-term tenants in Jersey City the 6% hospitality tax that the city’s hotel apply to guests. The tax is expected to generate between $600,000 and $1 million annually on the more than 300 Airbnb rentals that the city’s 262,000 residents list each year. Jersey City already makes $6 million on hotel rooms every year.

Legalizing Airbnb could give Jersey City a leg-up on nearby New York City; New York state largely bans rentals through the site.

In embracing Airbnb, Jersey City joins a growing list of cities that have legalized the site in exchange for additional tax revenue. San Francisco gave the site the green light in October 2014 and now collects a 14% tax on rentals through the site, and Philadelphia okayed the site in July in exchange for an 8% tax in a move that relieved some of the lodging pressures prompted by the Pope’s visit to the city in September and the Democratic National Convention next year.

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