Following up on our Dec. 2 coverage of Scottsdale’s heated STR-regulation debate, there’s news on the new short-term-rental regulations front. As of this month, all VR property owners in the popular Arizona enclave must provide a local emergency contact to the city. And that contact must respond in person within one hour to the VR property’s physical address in the event of a noise disturbance or emergency.
An assigned contact who doesn’t respond within 60 minutes can be subject to a $250 fine. If they don’t respond at all, they can face a civil offense and a fine of $500. And the penalties for owners of VRs where rowdy parties take place are even steeper: $750 for a first offense, up to $2,500 for a fourth.
The Aspen City Council passed an emergency ordinance on Dec. 8, 2021, prohibiting new STR license applications. Directors from the city’s offices of development and finance defended the ordinance, saying that extreme measures were needed to curtail destroying neighborhoods, displacing wage-earning laborers, and creating an uneven playing field with local hotels.
The ordinance is scheduled to expire at the end of September 2022, unless further legislative action is taken to extend or change it. And that may very well happen. In response to the license moratorium, The Aspen Board of Realtors is seeking an injunction to stop it in its tracks. The courts have scheduled a hearing on the proposed preliminary injunction for Feb. 24 and 25.
Meanwhile, Pitkin County, in which Aspen resides, will decide on Jan. 26 on an ordinance stopping non-primary residences from being used as STRs. The ordinance would also prevent “faceless owners” (i.e. a limited liability company or trust) from obtaining an STR license.
Another Colorado ski resort town voted unanimously in early January to extend its moratorium on vacation home rental permits until June 30. But since the moratorium was first enacted, in June 2021, Steamboat Spring City Council has loosened some restrictions. Namely, they removed some streets located around the Steamboat Resort ski area from the moratorium map.
As council member Michael Buccino explained, “These are areas that are inherently for nightly rentals and not affordable housing. There is a logical reason why the base of a world-class ski resort will have vacation home rentals.”
In the meantime, city research has shown that most of Steamboat Springs 3,000 to 4,000 short-term rentals are operating entirely without a permit.
Following other San Diego cities, coastal Encinitas tightened short-term-rental regulations in January. The city more than doubled its permit fee, from $150 to $425. It also added a three-night-minimum-stay requirement for rentals that are not owner-occupied. And it tweaked current restrictions to include the following:
- No special events
- No commercial filming
- Loud and raucous noise prohibited
- Unruly gathering prohibited
To see the full amended ordinance, click here.
A Palm Springs group opposing STRs has lost its appeal in a 2017 anti-STR lawsuit it originally lost in trial court in 2019. The group calling itself Protect Our Neighborhoods had argued that Palm Springs’ short-term-rental ordinance violated city zoning laws. The lawsuit held that STRs are commercial businesses, not residential homes, and that they alter the character of residential zones. It also argued that even if the city code allows STRs, it prohibits them in non-owner-occupied properties without a land-use permit. And it alleged that the entire Palm Springs short-term-rental ordinance is “inconsistent, contradictory, and based on erroneous findings.”
The appeals court rejected all arguments, with presiding Justice Manuel Ramirez stating the ordinance does not prohibit STRs, whether residential homes or commercial enterprises.
Following the ruling, Bruce Hoban, co-founder of STR advocacy group Vacation Rental Owners and Neighbors of Palm Springs, said it was “sad to see hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by the city to defend this lawsuit with no recourse for the city to recoup those funds due to California state law.”
Natasha Garber covers short-term-rental industry trends, news, regulations and compliance for NoiseAware. Her posts on STR property management technology, privacy-safe noise monitoring, and licensing laws can be found weekly on the NoiseAware blog.