Avondale’s short-term rental ordinance went into effect Feb. 1, and it’s meant to ensure the safety and happiness of residents and visitors.
“A couple years ago the state passed a law that allows cities to regulate short-term rentals, and a lot of other cities jumped right on that and started regulating them,” said Keith Fallstrom, Avondale’s finance and budget assistant director. “We held off a little bit so we were able to look at what other cities did.”
Staff then gave the city council options and the governing body offered feedback. An ordinance was drafted and passed in October.
“The main point of the ordinance is to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare and to give us another tool in our toolbox to resolve issues that might come about because of short-term rentals,” Fallstrom said.
The ordinance includes requirements for the owner or operator to notify their neighbors of the short-term rental and provide them with contact information for emergencies, background check for sex offenders and have liability insurance of $500,000. Fallstrom noted that most of these are already required by the bigger short-term rental marketplaces anyway.
“Luckily we have not had major issues with short-term rentals, but this is allowing us the tools to address those if or when they arise,” Fallstrom said.
“A big part of this is having good emergency contact information, and one of the requirements is having that emergency contact be able to respond within one hour when public safety personnel are dispatched to that address so that we can resolve emergency issues right away. Whereas if a location was just vacant, and we couldn’t, we didn’t know who to contact, that does present issues.”
If the ordinance’s requirements are not followed, the city can suspend or cancel the resident’s short-term rental license and issue civil penalties.
Avondale hadn’t tracked the number of short-term rentals. Fallstrom emphasized that Avondale’s ordinance is not very different from other cities.
“We’re being in line with our neighboring cities in the requirements, which actually helps businesses operate if we’re operating under similar regulations,” Fallstrom said.