Phoenix OKs short-term rental rule; officials warn it’s not a ‘magic elixir’

The Phoenix City Council this week unanimously approved a new permitting process for short-term rentals that will require owners to have a permit for their rental property, notify neighbors and carry liability insurance, among other restrictions. It came two weeks after the council voted to legalize backyard casitas. (File photo by Emma Peterson/Howard Center for Investigative Journalism)

PHOENIX – The Phoenix City Council unanimously passed regulations on short-term rentals Wednesday following a Sept. 6 vote that legalized backyard casitas.
The city code change will regulate short-term rentals through a permitting process that would be required of property owners who want to rent out. The city would have to issue or deny a permit within seven days of application, for all short-term vacation rentals in Phoenix.
Some Phoenix residents expressed opposition to the proliferation of short-term rentals, like Airbnb and Vrbo, in their neighborhoods when casitas were legalized. The casita rules make it difficult for them to be used as short-term rentals.
Short-term rental permit applications open on Oct. 26, and policy enforcement begins on Jan. 15, with civil penalties of up to $1,000 for every 30 days a short-term rental is operated without a permit.
Additional regulations on short-term rentals include:

An initial and renewal fee of $250 per permit.
Attestation that the owner or designee of short-term rental is not a convicted sex offender or felon, including a criminal background check.
Notice to all adjacent properties of the intent to operate a short-term rental.
Display of the permit number on all short-term rental advertisements.
A minimum of $500,000 liability insurance.
Civil penalties for violations ranging from $500 to $3,500.

The Phoenix Planning and Development Department will be responsible for issuing and suspending permits; the Neighborhood Services Department will handle complaints related to permits; and the Phoenix Police Department will enforce short-term rental disorderly complaints, said Deputy City Manager Alan Stephenson at the Wednesday meeting.
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