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Following on the heels of Mexico City, Quintana Roo, and Jalisco, the Yucatán state government has drafted legislation to tax and regulate short-term rental accommodations by Airbnb and similar online services. A 3% tax would apply on lodging, houses, condos, apartments, mansions, and similar short-term rentals. The law would also require that the places being rented meet the state health and sanitary code, with compliance inspections.
Chamber of Commerce president, Juan José Abraham Dáguer, Tourist Business Council President Jorge Escalante Bolio, and Héctor Navarrete Medina, leader of the Mexican Hotel Association of Yucatán, told reporters in June that private homeowners who list their properties online, in competition with hotels, should be regulated.
Regulating the growth of online rental platforms will appese irate hoteliers. “The regulation of the electronic lodging platform Airbnb is urgent, at this moment 35% of the accommodation spaces in Mérida and the municipalities of the coast are reserved through this digital tool,” stated the Mexican Hotel Association of Yucatán. The group was lobbying for a 16 percent tax on Airbnb revenue.
Legislators said the tax brings “free economic competition” among hotels and homeowners. Hotels already pay taxes and fees, and are subject to health and safety regulations, to operate in Yucatán.
In Mérida, most of the private properties that offer hosting services through electronic platforms are renovated homes located in the Historic Center and are mainly owned by foreigners, but are also offered by the local population.
About 900 properties in Yucatán, including along the Gulf coast, are listed on Airbnb, just as hotel owners are building quickly to meet projected demand as a new convention center prepares to open. Mérida will have 10,065 rooms in 249 hotels by the end of the year — most aimed at business travelers.