Binghamton, New York Short-Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Binghamton, New York

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What are Short-Term Rental (Airbnb, VRBO) Regulations in Binghamton, New York?

Short-term rental regulations vary by city and county in New York State. In Binghamton, short-term rentals must comply with state laws as well as any applicable local zoning, housing, historic preservation, or building codes.

Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in Binghamton

Before starting a short-term rental business in Binghamton, it's important to understand the legal landscape:

  • In New York State, short-term rentals are considered "Temporary Residences" and must have a state, city, or county health department permit to operate legally.
  • Renting out an entire apartment or home for less than 30 consecutive days is prohibited in many cases under the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law. Hosts must be present during short-term guest stays.
  • Binghamton requires that any repairs, improvements, or alterations to a short-term rental property comply with applicable codes.

Investors should carefully review local regulations, as cities across New York are introducing new short-term rental laws in response to the growth of Airbnb. One Binghamton investor on the Bigger Pockets forum noted the importance of researching the local market and connecting with those who have expertise in the area.

Anecdotally, some Binghamton University students have reported negative experiences renting from certain local landlords, with issues like unannounced visits, unresolved maintenance problems, and disputes over security deposits. Prospective short-term rental operators should aim to provide a better experience.

Key considerations for Binghamton short-term rentals include:

  1. Obtaining required permits and complying with all applicable laws and codes
  2. Maintaining the property in a safe, code-compliant condition
  3. Providing guests with information on safety, parking, noise, and other policies
  4. Appointing a local contact person to respond to any issues that arise

With the right planning and management, a short-term rental business in Binghamton can provide a source of income for hosts while offering visitors a comfortable, affordable alternative to hotels. However, it's crucial to navigate the legal and practical challenges carefully to ensure a positive experience for all involved.

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirements in Binghamton

According to the City of Binghamton's official website, short-term rental operators must obtain a permit from the Building Construction & Code Enforcement Department before advertising or renting their property. The application process involves submitting several documents and paying associated fees.

To apply for a short-term rental permit in Binghamton, hosts must provide:

  1. A completed Short-Term Rental Permit Application form
  2. Proof of property ownership or a lease agreement showing the applicant has permission to operate a short-term rental
  3. A site plan or floor plan of the rental property
  4. Proof of insurance covering short-term rental use with a minimum of $500,000 in liability coverage
  5. A signed affidavit agreeing to comply with all applicable laws and regulations
  6. Payment of a $100 application fee

Applications can be submitted in person at the Building Construction & Code Enforcement Department office or by mail. The review process typically takes 2-4 weeks, and approved permits are valid for one year from the date of issuance.

In addition to the permit, short-term rental operators in Binghamton must:

  1. Obtain a Broome County Certificate of Occupancy or Compliance
  2. Install working smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers
  3. Provide guests with a copy of the House Rules, including emergency contact information
  4. Collect and remit applicable occupancy taxes
  5. Renew their permit annually and pay a $50 renewal fee

Failure to comply with Binghamton's short-term rental regulations can result in fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 per violation, as well as possible revocation of the rental permit. The city may also issue stop-work orders for unpermitted rentals and require the removal of any online listings.

To ensure compliance and avoid penalties, prospective short-term rental hosts in Binghamton should carefully review the city's requirements, submit a complete permit application, and adhere to all applicable laws and regulations throughout the operation of their rental business.

Required Documents for Binghamton Short-Term Rentals

To operate a short-term rental in Binghamton, New York, hosts must submit the following documents as part of their permit application to the Building Construction & Code Enforcement Department:

  1. Short-Term Rental Permit Application: This form, available from the city, collects basic information about the property and the applicant. It serves as the official request for a short-term rental permit.
  2. Proof of Ownership or Permission: Applicants must demonstrate they own the property or have the owner's permission to operate a short-term rental. This can be a deed, tax bill, or notarized letter from the owner.
  3. Site Plan or Floor Plan: A sketch or diagram showing the layout of the rental unit, including room dimensions, exits, and smoke/CO detector locations. This helps verify compliance with safety requirements.
  4. Proof of Insurance: Short-term rental operators must carry liability insurance of at least $500,000 and provide documentation, such as a declaration page, showing the rental property is covered.
  5. Signed Affidavit: The applicant must sign a sworn statement agreeing to abide by all applicable laws, regulations, and permit conditions for short-term rentals in Binghamton.
  6. Broome County Certificate of Occupancy or Compliance: This document, issued by the county, certifies the building is safe and code-compliant for occupancy. It can be obtained through the county's Code Enforcement Division.

In addition to these required documents, short-term rental applicants in Binghamton must pay a $100 permit fee at the time of submission. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Once issued, a Binghamton short-term rental permit is valid for one year. Hosts must renew annually and pay a $50 renewal fee, as well as maintain compliance with all applicable regulations to continue operating legally.

Binghamton, New York Short-Term Rental Taxes

Short-term rental operators in Binghamton, New York must collect and remit several types of taxes:

  1. New York State Sales Tax: The state sales tax rate is 4%, which applies to short-term rentals of less than 90 consecutive days.
  2. Broome County Sales Tax: Broome County, where Binghamton is located, imposes an additional 4% sales tax on short-term rentals.
  3. Broome County Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax: A 5% occupancy tax applies to the rental of rooms in hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts in Broome County. This tax is used to fund activities that promote tourism in the county.

In total, short-term rental hosts in Binghamton should collect and remit 13% in taxes on their rental income (4% state sales tax + 4% county sales tax + 5% county occupancy tax). These taxes must be filed quarterly with the appropriate state and county agencies.

The City of Binghamton is also considering implementing a hotel room occupancy tax to help fund a new baseball stadium. If passed, this would be an additional tax for short-term rentals to collect on top of the existing taxes.

Tax Deductions for Short-Term Rentals

While short-term rental hosts must pay taxes on their rental income, there are several expenses they can deduct to reduce their tax liability:

  1. Depreciation of the rental property over time
  2. Cost segregation (depreciating property improvements separately)
  3. Furniture and supplies for the rental
  4. Cleaning and maintenance fees
  5. Marketing and advertising costs
  6. Home office expenses (if used to manage the rental)
  7. Commissions and fees paid to rental platforms like Airbnb
  8. Mortgage interest, insurance premiums, and property taxes
  9. Indirect expenses like utilities, software, and travel costs

To maximize these deductions and ensure compliance with all tax laws, short-term rental operators in Binghamton should consult with a qualified tax professional. Proper tracking of income and expenses is crucial for taking advantage of available write-offs.

New York State-Wide Short-Term Rental Rules

Short-term rental hosts in Binghamton must comply with New York State's Multiple Dwelling Law, which regulates rentals in residential buildings. Here are the key state-wide rules that impact Binghamton hosts:

  1. Definition of Short-Term Rental: New York State defines a short-term rental as a rental of a dwelling for less than 30 consecutive days. However, for tax purposes, they are considered stays of fewer than 90 consecutive days.
  2. Multiple Dwelling Law: This law prohibits short-term rentals in "Class A" multiple dwellings, which include apartment buildings and other residential properties with three or more permanent units. Renting out an entire apartment or home for less than 30 days is not allowed in these buildings.
  3. Host Presence Requirement: Hosts must be present throughout the guest's stay if renting out a room in a "Class A" dwelling. Additionally, guests must have unobstructed access to all rooms and exits within the unit.
  4. Occupancy Limits: In a hosted short-term rental, a maximum of two paying guests are allowed at a time.
  5. Safety and Code Compliance: Short-term rental properties in New York must be maintained in a safe and code-compliant condition.
  6. Taxes: New York State imposes a 4% sales tax on short-term rentals of less than 90 consecutive days. Additional local occupancy taxes ranging from 3% to 6% may also apply.

While cities and towns across New York have introduced their own specific short-term rental regulations, Binghamton hosts must adhere to these state-wide rules to operate legally. It's crucial for hosts to understand and comply with all applicable laws to avoid penalties and ensure a successful short-term rental business.

Does Binghamton, New York Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions in online real estate investing communities like Bigger Pockets and Reddit, Binghamton appears to be less Airbnb-friendly compared to some other cities in New York. The city has enacted strict regulations requiring short-term rental operators to obtain permits, meet safety standards, and pay occupancy taxes.

One prospective investor on the Bigger Pockets forum noted the importance of thoroughly researching local regulations before starting a short-term rental business in Binghamton. They emphasized connecting with experienced local investors to navigate the complex legal landscape.

Anecdotally, some Binghamton University students on Reddit have reported negative experiences renting from certain local landlords, with issues like unannounced visits, unresolved maintenance problems, and disputes over security deposits. This suggests that the city may not consistently enforce rules meant to protect tenants' rights.

While some hosts may operate short-term rentals in Binghamton despite the strict rules, the consensus from online discussions is that the city is not particularly Airbnb-friendly. Investors should be prepared to comply with permitting requirements, meet safety standards, collect and remit taxes, and provide a high-quality guest experience to succeed in this market.

Compared to major tourist destinations like New York City, Binghamton seems to have a less developed and more tightly regulated short-term rental market. Hosts who carefully navigate the legal requirements and prioritize guest satisfaction can find opportunities, but Binghamton presents more challenges for Airbnb operators than many other cities in the state.

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in Binghamton

Starting a short-term rental business in Binghamton requires careful planning and compliance with local regulations. Here are the key steps to get started:

  1. Research local regulations: Familiarize yourself with Binghamton's specific short-term rental laws, zoning requirements, and permit processes. The city requires hosts to obtain a permit and comply with safety and occupancy standards.
  2. Create a business plan: Develop a detailed plan outlining your target market, pricing strategy, marketing approach, and financial projections. Treat your short-term rental as a serious business.
  3. Choose a property: Decide whether to purchase a property or lease one for rental arbitrage. Consider factors like location, amenities, and potential demand when selecting a rental property. Popular areas in Binghamton include downtown and near the university.
  4. Obtain necessary permits and licenses: Apply for a short-term rental permit from the Binghamton Building Construction & Code Enforcement Department. Submit required documents, pay fees, and complete any necessary inspections.
  5. Set up your business entity: While not required, forming an LLC can provide liability protection and tax benefits. Register for an EIN and obtain a New York State Certificate of Authority for sales tax collection.
  6. Furnish and equip your rental: Create a comfortable and inviting space for guests. Invest in quality furniture, linens, and amenities that match your target market. Ensure the property is clean, safe, and well-maintained.
  7. Create a compelling listing: Craft an attractive Airbnb or Vrbo listing with a catchy title, detailed description, and high-quality photos. Highlight unique selling points and amenities to stand out from competitors.
  8. Establish pricing and policies: Research comparable rentals to determine competitive nightly rates. Set clear house rules, cancellation policies, and guest communication procedures.
  9. Automate and streamline operations: Utilize vacation rental software like smart locks, noise monitoring, and automated messaging to efficiently manage your property. Consider hiring a reputable cleaning service to ensure consistent quality.
  10. Launch and market your listing: Publish your listing on popular short-term rental platforms and actively promote it through social media, targeted ads, and local partnerships. Encourage satisfied guests to leave reviews to build credibility.

Tips for success:

  • Prioritize guest experience by providing excellent communication, cleanliness, and amenities
  • Stay up-to-date on local regulations and industry trends
  • Optimize your listing regularly based on guest feedback and market demand
  • Build a reliable team of cleaners, handymen, and other service providers
  • Reinvest profits into property upgrades and business growth

By following these steps and continuously adapting to the market, you can build a thriving short-term rental business in Binghamton. Remember to comply with all legal requirements, prioritize guest satisfaction, and treat your rental as a professional venture.

Who to Contact in Binghamton, New York about Short-Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

If you have questions about short-term rental regulations and zoning in Binghamton, here are some key contacts and resources:

  • Planning, Zoning & Historic Preservation Department: This department handles zoning administration, compliance, and enforcement. Contact them at (607) 772-7028 or email the staff through the department website.
  • Building Construction & Code Enforcement: For questions about building permits, safety requirements, and inspections, contact the Building Construction & Code Enforcement Department at (607) 772-7010. Find staff contact information on the city directory.
  • Town of Binghamton Zoning Board: If your property is located in the Town of Binghamton (outside city limits), contact the Zoning Board of Appeals for questions about variances and zoning compliance. Call the Building & Codes Department at (607) 772-0357, ext. 012, or visit the Zoning Board webpage.
  • Town of Binghamton Building Codes & Permits: For properties in the Town of Binghamton, contact Building Inspector Nick Pappas at (607) 772-0357, ext. 012 or Code Enforcement Officer Zachary Soboleski at (607) 772-0357, ext. 014. Visit the Building Codes & Permits page for more information.

In addition to these official contacts, connecting with other local hosts and investors can provide valuable insights. Consider joining these online communities:

  • Airbnb Community Center - Binghamton Hosts: Connect with other Binghamton Airbnb hosts to ask questions and share experiences. Join the conversation in this location-specific thread.
  • Bigger Pockets - Binghamton Investing: Network with real estate investors active in the Binghamton market on Bigger Pockets, a popular investing forum. Check out this thread from a new investor seeking advice on Binghamton short-term rentals.
  • Reddit - r/Binghamton: While not exclusively for short-term rentals, the r/Binghamton subreddit includes discussions about living and investing in the area that may be relevant for hosts.

By contacting the appropriate city departments and connecting with the local host community, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the regulatory landscape and launch a successful short-term rental business in Binghamton.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Binghamton, New York Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think about Local Regulations?

Based on discussions in online communities like Reddit and Bigger Pockets, short-term rental hosts in Binghamton have mixed feelings about local regulations. Here are some insights from real hosts and investors:

Bigger Pockets Forum - New Investor Considering Binghamton STRs: In this thread, a prospective investor asks for advice on short-term rentals in Binghamton. While no hosts directly respond, the post highlights the importance of researching local regulations and connecting with experienced investors before entering the market.

Reddit - r/Binghamton on New Zoning Laws: A post about new student housing zoning laws sparked discussion on how the regulations might impact the rental market. Some commenters expressed concern that the laws could lead to more luxury student housing and higher rents, while others felt they were necessary to address the city's affordable housing crisis for long-term residents.

Reddit - r/BinghamtonUniversity on Renting Experiences: While not specific to short-term rentals, this thread includes stories from student renters about their experiences with local landlords. Several commenters mention issues with unannounced visits, unresolved maintenance problems, and difficulty getting security deposits returned. These anecdotes suggest that some Binghamton landlords may not always follow regulations meant to protect tenants' rights.

Reddit - r/Binghamton on the Dominance of Student Housing: In a recent post, a renter expresses frustration with the high percentage of apartments in Binghamton that are exclusively student housing. Commenters note that student rentals are more profitable for landlords, but the concentration of student housing makes it difficult for non-student renters to find affordable options. Some mention the new zoning laws as an attempt to address this issue.

While these discussions don't directly address short-term rental regulations, they provide insight into the broader rental landscape in Binghamton. Hosts and investors seem aware of the need to navigate local laws carefully, but there is also concern about the impact of regulations on housing affordability and availability. As the city implements new policies, it will be important for short-term rental operators to stay informed and adapt their strategies accordingly.

Disclaimer: While we here at BNBCalc strive to keep all of our city regulation guides updated and accurate with all the latest local laws, we still do not suggest using them as your sole or primary source for local regulations. We also do not recommend you rely on the third-party sources we link to or reference, and we are not responsible for any of the information on these third-party sites. These guides are for entertainment purposes only and only provide basic information and should not be considered as legal advice.

We highly recommend directly contacting the responsible parties for each city and hearing what their officials have to say. Ultimately, it's your responsibility as an investor to ensure you fully comply with the local laws, and it's best to speak with professionals before making an investment decision.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.