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Proposed Arizona legislation wants to regulate Airbnb, Vrbo rentals

(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX — Two bills were discussed at the Arizona Legislature Thursday morning that would regulate vacation rental properties throughout the state.

Before the committee discussed the legislation inside the Senate, dozens of owners and operators of vacation rentals gathered outside of the Capitol to voice their opposition against bills they say are “overreaching.”

Sen. Kate Brophy McGee’s Senate Bill 1154 would allow owners to lease out vacation rentals only once in a 30-day period.

A bill sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh would add more regulation to short-term rentals by making the owner meet every renter in person during check-in and require contact information for the owner to be posted outside the rental.

Kavanagh’s legislation also would mandate the installation of noise-monitoring equipment.

Vacation home rental operators believe the legislation is unreasonable and overreaching. Those in favor of the legislation hope there can be a compromise if the bills do not pass.

Wearing matching orange shirts that said “Protect Our Right to Rent,” many owners and operators of rental units on Airbnb and Vrbo said the properties are major sources of their income and the proposed legislation would dramatically hurt their business.

“The economy that it represents is compelling,” Mark Bauvis told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “Secondly, 99% of vacation rental operators are responsible neighbors, add value to neighborhoods, and they improve property values around them.”

Bauvis did acknowledge the bad owners out there and said he would be in favor of helping curb the abuses, but doesn’t want to be punished for the 1% who are bad apples.

Kate Bauer, who leads the neighborhood block watch group called Take Action Phoenix, spoke in favor of Brophy McGee’s bill.

“These homes are having a serious impact on our already stretched-thin police force and the additional calls of violations that they have to run out on,” Bauer said in front the committee.

“The officers didn’t see anything or witness any of the activity and they can’t do anything about it, so it’s a waste of their valuable time.”

Bauer also wanted the committee to consider what the essentially vacant homes will do when it comes to the census count in Arizona.

After sharing her testimony with the committee, Bauer told KTAR News she said she isn’t 100% against vacation rental properties but believes it’s a zoning issue.

“We thought we were buying into a single-family residential area, not a commercial zone,” she said. “It just causes a lot of unease when you see investors come in and buy blocks of homes and using them as short-term rentals.”

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