Does luxury lose its sparkle when it comes at $99 a night? Several condominiums at the Chesapeake Lofts along Shoreline Drive in downtown Sandusky are now available for rent on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
“We’ve seen the advertisements go up and we are making certain that we’re collecting bed tax on these,” commission president Dennis Murray said.
City finance director Ed Widman said the city will be sending out questionnaires to narrow down which luxury condos are up for rent.
Units rented for fewer than 30 days would be subject to a transient occupancy tax. If the owners are making income off the rental, they may be subject to income tax as well, Widman said.
City manager Matt Kline said the extra revenue sounds like good news for the city.
“That would be a little extra windfall that we weren’t expecting,” Kline said.
Erie County auditor Tom Paul said he’s evaluating the taxes from a county perspective.
“We’re looking into it and making sure that it’s done correctly,” Paul said. “I don’t remember (the Chesapeake property) ever being presented as a rental situation.”
The Erie County bed tax is 2 percent of the daily or weekly rental rate and is entirely separate from real estate taxes.
On the Vacation Rental by Owner Web site, vrbo.com, there are listings for at least five units at the Chesapeake Loft property. Depending on the unit, prices range from $99 to $450 per night and $375 to $1200 per week. Some of the listings require renters to be at least 25 years old or require a two-night minimum stay.
The nearly 200 units at Chesapeake Lofts have been selling for between $135,000 and $335,000.
Chuck Davis, president of Mid-States Development Corp., developers of the Chesapeake property, did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.
Widman said this sort of “mixed bag” arrangement in which some of the condos are owner occupied and others are rented does complicate the situation.
“I don’t know if anyone expected those to be all owner-occupants,” Widman said. “I think the daily rental is a little more of a twist.”
He said that if a unit being rented by the day is right next door to an owner-occupied unit, there is the potential for problems.
The city is still working to determine how much actual rental activity, if any, has already taken place.
“At this point we don’t have those details,” Widman said.