HB 253: Preventing Cities from Prohibiting Short-Term Rentals

This Bill passed the House 71-1 and the Senate 28-0.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Our Freest Cities Index revealed that many cities have ordinances that heavily restrict or completely ban short-term rentals—sharing your home for fewer than 30 days with a person for pay.

This action violates property rights in a very unreasonable fashion; allowing your Grandmother to stay with you for a few days is no different than allowing a traveler to do the same. The impact on neighbors is no different, and the property is not used any differently. There is no rational basis to prohibit one merely because money is exchanged.

Representative John Knotwell has sponsored House Bill 253 to address this issue in two ways. First, cities would be prohibited from enacting or enforcing an ordinance that prohibits a person from listing their home or offering a short-term rental on a website such as Airbnb or VRBO. This is a free speech issue; listing a home does not necessarily mean that a rental is actually taking place. But many cities merely peruse these websites and send out citations to property owners, rather than building a case to demonstrate that a rental actually took place in violation of the city’s ordinance. This would require a complaint-based process rather than using these websites as a proactive tool to crack down on those not causing any problems.

Second, the bill would prohibit cities from outlawing the rental of property on a short-term basis provided that it is owner-occupied. This means that so long as the owner is on the property as well (in another floor or room, for example), the rental would be allowed.

This bill does not deny cities the ability to regulate and license such rentals, but complete prohibitions would be disallowed if the bill were to pass.

  • AirBnB Superhost

    I continue to follow this issue and hope for the passage of this legislation.  

    My co-worker has been able to replace her husband’s lost income over the past six months since his cancer diagnosis by renting out portions of her home on AirBnb.  She reports that none of her neighbors are bothered by her rental activity.  She would love to speak on her experience and/or share her thoughts with your office. If interested, I can provide contact information.

  • Rene Lord

    Cottonwood Heights is presenting a new ordinance November 1, 2017, that is in direct violation of this Bill HB253. Libertas can you help !

    • KRISTEN WIGHT

      Rene Lord, I also live in Cottonwood Heights and I am concerned about the short term rental policy. Are you on Nextdoor.com? I would like to get some like minded people together to talk about this issue.

  • Just call me George

    Still battling this in court after seeing this bill signed into law by governor, and using AirBnB. City is playing hardball with a Class B misdemeanor, and demanding the ability to come into our home once a month without notice for surprise inspections with a signed PIA plus a $600 fine. I refuse to give up my 4th amendment rights. This isn’t free or fair. One of our neighbors is behind the harrassment.

    • pennyforum

      What city?

      • Just call me George

        Sandy City.

  • Josh Korpi

    Owner occupied units should not be regulated especially outside of typical residential zones.

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