The recent opinion piece authored by Mark Beauvais extolling the benefits of short-term rentals to Scottsdale should be read for exactly what it is: a puff piece written by the short-term rental industry.
Mr. Beauvais is not a disinterested economist examining the impact of this industry. Mr. Beauvais owns and operates short-term rentals in Scottsdale and is actively involved in the association lobbying against regulation of these operations. The glaring omissions of this piece are the numerous negative impacts on neighbors and neighborhoods of short term rentals.
As a homeowner in the Old Town Scottsdale area, this issue is personal. On our short two block run of our street, there are three short-term rentals (one being directly across the street from us) and over a dozen within a half mile radius.
We have seen it all over the years: massive house parties, domestic disturbances, rowdy partiers coming back in the early hours of the morning from the Entertainment District, intoxicated individuals trying to gain entry to the wrong home and the debris in the streets from the previous night’s revelry.
In December of 2021, there was a shooting at a short-term rental house party less than a mile from our home. Not exactly the kind of headline one wants to read with their morning coffee.
I participated in Scottsdale’s Short-Term Rental Working Group to ensure the neighbors of these operations have the tools necessary to combat the ills of short term rentals. The voluminous response to the request for input from the community by the Working Group evidences the pervasive problems generated by short-term rentals.
The submitted input is available for the public’s reading pleasure. Mr. Beauvais would have you believe these bad actors are the exception to the rule. Those of us who deal with the day to day reality of these commercial operations in our residential neighborhoods know otherwise. Debaucherous bachelor and bachelorette parties far outnumber the demure family gatherings which Mr. Beauvais purports to be the majority of their business.
I have not been convinced there is a way to mitigate the disturbances and negative impacts of short-term rentals. Nor should the expectation be we, the tax-paying neighbors, must endure the continued assault on the quiet enjoyment of our lives and property. The very transient nature of these businesses disrupts a neighborhood.
Regardless of the best efforts of the operators and platforms, they fundamentally cannot guarantee the behavior of their clients. The short-term rental industry has proven they are impotent to self-regulate. I applaud the action of the city of Scottsdale to require registration for short-term rentals to hold operators accountable and increased nuisance fines which hopefully will incentivize better behavior.
Ultimately, this is a quality of life issue for all residents of Scottsdale. None of us made the investment in nice Scottsdale neighborhoods to live next to commercial operations.
As long-term Scottsdale residents age out of the established neighborhoods of the southern part of the city, investors and operators swoop in to turn those homes into yet another short term rental. With the continued proliferation of short-term rentals, we lose another piece of the community which has made Scottsdale special. The quality of life in Scottsdale we’ve enjoyed is no longer guaranteed. This issue, amongst others, must be a priority for city hall.
Editor’s Note: Travis Junion is a Scottsdale resident and homeowner.