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The City’s New Short-Term Rental Tax

Ayuntamiento en sesión

Gonzalo González, Secretary of the City Council of San Miguel de Allende

Imagen Consejo Turístico

Katya Soto durante campaña en Junio 2018

By Jesús Aguado

San Miguel de Allende has an estimated 2,700 houses available for short-term rental. Now the owners of these properties will have to pay the city a 10,000-peso annual fee for each such short-term rental property they own.

Officials believe that this change will garner 20 million pesos in revenue annually for the city. The money will be invested into city security and services to benefit both locals and visitors, said Secretary of the City Council Gonzalo González Rodríguez.

In November, the San Miguel de Allende City Council incorporated the permit law into the proposed 2019 Municipal Income Law (an annually approved document that sets all taxes and budgets for the city each year). It requires property owners engaging in short-term rentals (such as through Airbnb) to obtain from the city the 10,000-peso annually renewing land-use permit.

The state Congress ratified the municipal permit law on December 20. The law goes into effect January 1, 2019. Establishments that do not obtain a permit as required will be shut down, González Rodríguez said.

“Now they will be required to have a land-use permit because they are generating an income,” he said. Owners will also have to have a civic protection program authorized by the department.

A tragedy

On November 15, 2017, Edward Winders and Bárbara Moller, both 76 years old, arrived in San Miguel from Albany, NY. They checked in at an Airbnb rental in colonia San Antonio. A couple of days later, after not having heard from them at all, the landlord went to the house to check up on the couple and found their dead bodies. The District Attorney´s Office determined that the death was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. The couple’s relatives came to San Miguel and faced several difficulties in returning the bodies to the United States due to language barriers and because the Forensic Service held the bodies for more than a week while investigating the case.

Currently, the Ministerio Público has not released new information on this case and has blocked any information on this and all crimes in San Miguel.

The state Congress said yes

In the Guanajuato state legislature, Deputy of District IX—which includes San Miguel de Allende and Apaseo el Grande—representative Katya Cristina Soto Escamilla presented the proposal to ratify San Miguel’s land-use permit law before the Congress. In her speech to Congress, she stated that the income would be used for surveillance and regulate the safety conditions that these rental homes will have to provide to customers. These houses will now have to meet the requirements of a program of the Civil Protection Department. Experts will now have to revise each property’s gas and electricity installations, emergency exits, and the infrastructure.

González Rodríguez told Atención that the city already has a register of the active rentals. Starting January 1, the owners of these properties will be invited to begin applying for permits. Although he did not give a deadline, he promised that those who “do not fulfill” the new regulation, will have their rentals shut down.

These landlords will be allowed to pay the 10,000-peso permit fee in six bimonthly payments if they prefer.

 

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