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Vacation rentals affected by new Arizona laws

Jan 13, 2017

Vacation rentals affected by new Arizona laws

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PHOENIX — Arizonans who like to rent out their homes to visitors and don’t want local officials to stop them will benefit from a new law that took effect 6th January 2017.

Vacation rentals

One measure with potential implications for neighborhoods involves that issue of short-term rentals.

Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, originally simply intended to eliminate the requirement that homeowners collect local taxes every time they rent out a room or a whole house through “sharing” services like Airbnb . Now, online firms will collect the applicable taxes and forward them to the Department of Revenue, which will send them to the affected jurisdictions.

But Lesko also tacked on language that says cities, towns and counties cannot prohibit or restrict these rentals simply because the property is not classified as a hotel.

In signing the measure earlier this year, Gov. Doug Ducey said the legislation provides “financial breathing room” for families by allowing them to earn something extra.

The law, however, covers more than those renting out a bedroom — or even their whole home.

There is no limit to the number of properties an investor can buy and days a home could be rented out, all in the same area, potentially turning a neighborhood into a vacation rental zone. But the governor, at the signing ceremony, brushed aside questions of whether that could change an area’s character.

“I’m not going to answer these hypotheticals,” Ducey said.

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns agreed not to oppose the measure after it was amended to allow regulations to preserve local health and safety. But not everyone at the Capitol was convinced that allowing anyone to open up one or more homes to vacation rentals is in the best interests of others already living in an area.

“I didn’t move into a neighborhood to have the house next door to me turned into a weekly rental property,” said Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, in voting against the measure.

And Sedona City Attorney Robert Pickels, in testifying against the proposal, told lawmakers this is none of their concern. He reminded them of their objections when the federal government imposes its will on the state.

“We feel the same way at the local level,” Pickels said. “The city of Sedona feels very strongly that the characteristics that are unique to Sedona and preservation of those characteristics are left to the city of Sedona.”

The practice of renting, though, appears popular — and potentially lucrative.

Airbnb spokeswoman Laura Rillos said her firm has about 7,900 “hosts” in Arizona with a typical listing by a host being booked 44 nights a year. Rillos said a typical host earns about $4,900 a year.

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