Tempe was considering new short-term rental regulations before Airbnb shooting

Nov 1, 2022, 3:00 PM
Tempe City Hall (Facebook Photo/City of Tempe Government)...
Tempe City Hall (Facebook Photo/City of Tempe Government)
(Facebook Photo/City of Tempe Government)

PHOENIX – Tempe was looking to strengthen its short-term rental property regulations even before an Airbnb house party shooting rattled a local neighborhood over the weekend.

Nobody was injured in the shooting early Saturday in a residential area near University and Hardy drives.

Police said at least three people opened fire outside the rental house, leaving behind over 60 shell casings. Two people were arrested at the scene for charges unrelated to the shooting.

The wheels were in motion for Tempe to consider stricter short-term rental regulations before the incident because the state now permits more local oversight of the properties.

The East Valley suburb already requires owners to register vacation rental properties, but the state didn’t allow cities to do more than that until the law was changed this year.

Under a draft ordinance, Tempe short-term rental property owners would have to pay a $250 for an annual permit and maintain liability insurance of at least $500,000.

The proposal also would require owners to:

  • Provide proof of a sales tax license and evidence the rental is registered with the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office.
  • Provide emergency contact information to all neighboring properties.
  • Respond within one hour to complaints for which police are dispatched or within 24 hours for non-emergency complaints.
  • Conduct a sex offender background check for every renter.
  • Display the local regulatory permit or license number on ads.

Last week, the Tempe City Council directed staff to move ahead with the public input process for the draft ordinance.

The city will conduct an online survey this month, starting Thursday, and hold two public meetings, one virtually at noon on Nov. 14 and one in person at Escalante Multi-Generational Center (2150 E. Orange St.) at 6 p.m. on Nov. 16.

The City Council will also hold public hearings on the issue during its regular meetings on Dec. 15 and Jan. 5.

Airbnb, the popular vacation rental platform, began to crack down on large gatherings in 2019 after a fatal shooting at a California house party.

Earlier this year, the company said a COVID-era house party ban was so effective, especially in Arizona, that it was making the policy permanent.

From when the policy was enacted on a temporary basis as a public health measure in August 2020 until to June 2022, Airbnb saw a 44% year-over-year decline in party reports globally. The drop was even steeper in Arizona, at 55%.

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Tempe was considering new short-term rental regulations before Airbnb shooting