Warwick imposes new Airbnb regulations

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WARWICK -

A popular tourist town in Orange County is joining a growing number of municipalities that have put regulations on home-sharing sites like Airbnb.

As part of a new law passed this week in the town of Warwick, Airbnb hosts will now have to register their rentals with the town of Warwick and pay a $150 fee for a building inspector to make sure their homes are up to par.

Damien Georges is one of 40 Airbnb hosts in Warwick and one of more than 400 people in Orange County renting out properties on the home-sharing site.

"I have no issue with that," says Georges. "I think the regulations are prudent."

Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton feels the regulations are imperative.

"Simply to make sure they're safe, that someone's not renting a basement with no way out on the event of some occurrence," says Sweeton.

Sweeton says the law will also help the town prevent possible problems with rowdy renters. He also says the Airbnb homes are helpful with the booming tourism industry since there is only one motel in the area.

According to Airbnb, the number of guest arrivals in Warwick has increased by 56 percent in the last year. However, owners of traditional bed and breakfasts say home-sharing sites like Airbnb have hurt business.

"I used to be booked up a year in advance and now it's week by week," says Terry Colman, who has a bed and breakfast in Warwick.

Colman agrees with the law, but says Airbnb sites should also have to pay taxes like everyone else.

The new law will go into effect in 30 days.

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