Petition may encourage change to Scottsdale home rental policies

0204Ns News Story (Rental Ordinance) FOR WEBWhen Deanna Peters brought her petition to Scottsdale City Council earlier this month, she hoped revising a city ordinance that prohibits residents from renting out their homes for less than 30 days could benefit her community by promoting tourism and business activity.

As a real estate agent for West USA Realty, Ms. Peters sees many Scottsdale residents renting out their homes for less than 30 days to tourists and vacationers.

“And the city knows about it because they’re collecting transient tax from some of these people,” she said in a phone interview.

The problem, according to Ms. Peters, is that there is no consistency.

She saw some homeowners receive letters notifying them they violated the ordinance, while others never heard a whisper from the city. She is certain there are some homeowners who have no idea they are in violation of the ordinance.

“It would make sense for it to be a lawful activity,” Ms. Peters explained about why she presented her petition to city council.

Guy Phillips

Guy Phillips

Scottsdale Vice Mayor Guy Phillips, who made the motion Jan. 6 to direct the petition to the city manager’s office, thought it was important to amend the ordinance in order to help people recoup some of the money they might have lost when home values dropped.

“I feel for them,” Vice Mayor Phillips said in a phone interview. “This is a good way to recoup some of their loss.”

In addition to helping homeowners, Ms. Peters hopes that changing the ordinance to allow Scottsdale residents to rent their properties for time periods of less than 30 days will benefit the tourism industry as well.

Making it easier to find lodging in Scottsdale will increase business activity, and make it easier to rent out a vacation home will encouraging more people to purchase property in Scottsdale, according to Ms. Peters.

Ms. Peters’ petition is under review at the city manager’s office, according to Kelly Corsette, communications and public affairs director for the city.

All levels of potential impact must be analyzed — from neighborhoods and revenues to enforcement and the hospitality industry — in order to give the council the most comprehensive assessment possible, Mr. Corsette explained in a phone interview.

“Our group is putting together a report for the council, and it will likely go before them in the next three to four weeks,” said Mr. Corsette.

Changes to the ordinance will not be made in time for Scottsdale homeowners to cash in renting their homes to Super Bowl tourists, but Ms. Peters said that was never her intention.

Instead, she wanted her petition to help Scottsdale residents in the future by adjusting the minimum rental time from 30 days to three days.

Vice Mayor Phillips can only speculate as to what changes exactly might be made to the city ordinance.

“I’m hoping they will come up with some special-use permit for special occasions,” he said, adding that a special occasion might be an event that draws more than 100,000 people, for example.

The current city ordinance prohibits day-by-day rentals because they can disturb neighborhoods, according to Vice Mayor Phillips.

Ms. Walker is a freelance journalist under contract with the North Valley Office of Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA

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