Scottsdale City Council voted unanimously in favor of two proposed updates to the city’s vacation rental ordinance as well as its nuisance parties and unlawful gatherings ordinance at the Dec. 8 meeting.
The updates to both ordinances, which take effect Jan. 7, 2022, will remove loopholes, increase fines and improve the city’s enforcement abilities when handling short-term vacation rental complaints, according to a press release from the city.
A 2016 state law restricting cities and towns from regulating vacation and short-term rental properties removed a Scottsdale law that prohibited rentals of 30 days or fewer.
Since that legislation took effect, residents have repeatedly asked the city to help mitigate the negative effects of these rental properties — now estimated to number more than 4,000 in Scottsdale.
Earlier this year, the city formed a Short-Term Rental Working Group to further explore these issues and offer potential solutions, primarily focused on improving monitoring and enforcement of rules that are allowed under state law.
The working group made nine recommendations that city council adopted in July. To view the recommendations and other information in the Scottsdale Short-Term Rental Quarterly Report, visit ScottsdaleAZ.gov and search “short term rental.”
Among the recommendations were changes to state law that would strengthen local authority over short-term rentals, the release stated. These changes are outlined in a letter to state legislators from the Scottsdale mayor and city council.
Besides amending state law and strengthening city ordinances, other working group recommendations that are moving forward include increasing enforcement, improving communication and providing educational opportunities to both residents and short-term rental owners and hosts.
In the fall of 2019, city council amended an existing city code requiring owners of short-term or vacation rentals to provide emergency and complaint contact information. The amendment also emphasized that these rentals may not be used for non-residential purposes such as restaurants or event centers.
City council further adopted a citywide nuisance parties and unlawful gathering ordinance that makes it easier to hold property owners accountable for repeated unruly gatherings or parties. This ordinance applies to all private residences whether they are long- or short-term rentals, or owner-occupied.
While the two ordinances brought some relief, the working group recommended that these city ordinances be strengthened to better protect neighborhoods.
Additionally, every vacation or short-term rental property in the state is required to have a Transaction Privilege Sales Tax license from the State of Arizona Department of Revenue. All rental units in Scottsdale are required to register those units with the Maricopa County Assessor as well.
Owners of vacation and short-term rentals in Scottsdale are also required to provide the city with complaint/emergency contact information for each property, in accordance with the Scottsdale city code.
Any person designated as a vacation or short-term rental emergency contact must respond in person to the property within one hour of the city’s notification in the event of an emergency.
Scottsdale’s vacation and short-term rentals page on its website provides resources and information for neighborhoods and property owners to help everyone understand the rules, comply with registration requirements and get help when needed.
The city also developed a useful online course as part of its Neighborhood College series for residents to understand how to address short-term rentals in their neighborhoods and will continue to evaluate the impact of short-term rental properties on Scottsdale neighborhoods and make additional amendments to city codes and ordinances, if necessary.
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