Opinion

Janik: Short-term rentals, our problem child

Posted 6/2/21

Most of us are aware of the STR “Party House Gone Wild” problem facing Scottsdale.

This disruptive force is impacting and seriously disturbing many of our residential neighborhoods. …

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Opinion

Janik: Short-term rentals, our problem child

Posted

Most of us are aware of the STR “Party House Gone Wild” problem facing Scottsdale.

This disruptive force is impacting and seriously disturbing many of our residential neighborhoods. As might be expected, citizens are angry. Some have even gone as far as moving to neighborhoods with HOA’s that offer protection from STR’s.

Several weeks ago, Councilperson Linda Milhaven recommended the formation of a working group to seek solutions, council supported her proposal. She asked me to participate and I eagerly accepted.

Our Assistant City Manager, Brent Stockwell, organized the study group with a systematic approach to securing representation from the various elements of the STR world. Most recently, Brad Lundahl, government relations director, arranged a most beneficial meeting with Expedia and Airbnb representatives.

All in attendance agreed that the first order of business is ensuring these STR’s are registered to facilitate contact with the owners in case of an emergency.

Estimates indicate there are over 5,300 STR’s in our city with only about 800 registered.

Since we started on this project, city staff has been able to identify several hundred more rentals in violation. Notifications have been sent to the owners requiring prompt registration of their unit(s).

So far, most are complying voluntarily. Airbnb and Expedia have agreed to help with this effort. They will send out notifications of registration requirements to their patrons and stress the importance of providing emergency contact information.

They will also provide information to property managers instructing them how to minimize disruptive behavior. Offenders will be notified by Expedia and Airbnb that they will suffer suspension of services if disruptive behavior continues with eventual permanent removal (as verified by citations) if the behavior is not corrected.

Additionally, Expedia and Airbnb will provide links to their websites for Scottsdale citizens to report abuses to the code of conduct.

“While we have a limited tool box to deal with STR’s, we are sharpening our tools” is the message from the legal department. Staff has been allocated to identify STR’s that are not registered.

We are evaluating additional criteria for assessing noise violations. The process for issuing citations is being streamlined. We expect a significant reduction in complaints as these measures are instituted.

For the interactive map with contact information on registered short term rentals - https://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/codes/vacation-short-term-rentals

Editor’s Note: Betty Janik is vice mayor of Scottsdale.

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