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Airbnb hosts could face new restrictions in Blacksburg

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BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) - The town of Blacksburg is considering an ordinance that would establish a new set of guidelines regarding the use of Airbnb, which currently has little to no supervision.

Airbnb allows visitors to rent out someone's home during their stay, instead of a traditional hotel. It has become increasingly popular across the country during the last couple of years. There are currently more than 300 Airbnb listings in Blacksburg alone.

Town council discussed a first draft of the ordinance Tuesday during a work session.

The ordinance would require Airbnb hosts to collect a transient lodging tax from visitors, the same way hotels are required to. It would also set a limit on how many nights a house that is in a residential district could be used as an Airbnb and it would force the homeowner to be the primary resident.

"There are homes that are being purchased that are simply short-term rentals," said Blacksburg mayor Ron Rordam. "That really is the insertion of a commercial enterprise in a residential neighborhood, which really is inappropriate."

Town council plans to discuss the ordinance again in a couple of weeks and vote by the end of this year.