Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Study Session On Proposed Short Term Rental Regulations Tomorrow

"Short Term Rental" [STR] regulations in the future
In September, we reported that the town was "tackling the STR challenge". There are about 300 or so STR's now in Oro Valley. That number, we expect will continue to grow as there is a national trend of corporations purchasing residences for rental.

The challenge is to provide regulation and perhaps a fee, such as the bed tax, to short term rentals and vacation rentals in Oro Valley. Its an area that other communities, working with the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, at considering. Tomorrow, the council will discuss the area in a study session, with an eye toward making a decision at the January 4 town council meeting. 

Article 8-8 of town code as proposed has a number of requirements
Town staff is proposing a new code section, section 8-8, to regulate STR. By law, the town can not ban STR but it can enact reasonable regulations "to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the community." Staff is proposing that:
  • A license is required 
    The owner will be required to obtain a license for each rental unit. That license will require a fee paid to the the town. Town council will need to decide whether that is one-time or annual license. They will need to have a state issued sales tax license, evidence of liability insurance, and evidence that the STR is so noted in the Pima County Assessors records. The town can reject the application for a variety of reasons. For example, the applicant is a registered sex offender.
  • Emergency response requirements
    The license holder must be available to the police within sixty minutes if there is an emergency.
  • Compliance with all laws is required
    "All federal, state, and local laws including laws relating to public health and safety, sanitation, solid waste, hazardous waste, tax privilege licensing, property tax registration, traffic control, pollution control, noise, property maintenance, and nuisance abatement."
  • Certain uses are not permitted
    The proposed ordinance lists nine uses for which the property can not be used. This includes housing sex offenders or operating sexually-oriented businesses.
  • The neighbors must be notified that the property is seeking an STR permit
    Prior to licensing, the applicant has to notify the adjacent neighbors via registered letter or certified mail that this is an STR. However, there is not provision in the proposed code where the adjacent neighbors have any recourse in terms of responding to this notice.
  • Background checks on those who rent are required
    The owner must prove that anyone who rents the property is not a registered sex offender
  • Violations... Penalties
    There are a number of these detailed in the proposed code.
There are also a host of "offenses" that are detailed in the town's current code, Section 10, that apply to all properties and behaviors, including those of an STR. For example, the owner of any inn must keep a guest register. Also, the renters must observe the town's noise ordinance.

Homeowner Associations should get involved
Homeowner Associations represent about 70% (our guess) of the residents of Oro Valley.  HOA regulations apply to all properties in their community. A property owner that is not occupying the home must abide by the same regulations as those that occupy their homes. (Unfortunately) the HOA can not limit or restrict a property from becoming a STR. Together with the town, however, the HOA can ensure that the property does protect "the health, safety, and welfare of their HOA." Thus, their involvement in crafting the STR code is essential to the well-being of their community.

Discussion tonight... Decision in January
Tonight is a study session. Early January is a hearing and decision of whether this or some variation of this ordinance is approved. One area we hope council will explore is requiring a public hearing on all STR so that residents can opine before a permit is issued.

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