Proposed state bill would impose high fines on 'party house' hosts
By: Claudia Rupcich
Posted at 5:15 PM, Mar 16, 2021 and last updated 9:11 PM, Mar 16, 2021
Arizona lawmakers are considering a bill that would place restrictions on short-term rentals like Airbnb or Vrbo.
A small group of supporters gathered at the Capitol Tuesday ahead of a House Commerce Committee hearing on the bill.
SB 1379 is sponsored by Republican Senator J.D. Mesnard, and it will impose hefty fines on property owners if their guests disturb neighbors or create problems. That includes noise and traffic violations or nuisance issues. Cities already have ordinances for these issues, but Sen. Mesnard said this bill would go a step further.
"It would empower cities to impose fines and even revoke the TPT license for a short-term rental," said Sen. Mesnard.
They would have to be verified local or state violations. The first violation would result in a $500 fine or one night's rent, whichever is higher. The second violation would lead to a $1,000 fine or two night's rent. The third would be $3,500 or three night's rent.
After three strikes, hosts could get their license suspended for a year.
Monique Bell has been managing her Scottsdale home on Airbnb for seven years. She's hosted more than 500 guests, including several medical professionals this past year.
"We've had plenty of doctors and nurses come through our units, my goodness when I say they're here, they're so glad they don't have to go to a hotel," said Bell.
She's one of many vacation rental owners who support the bill.
"From a host's perspective, it's really going to take preventative measures on our side to make sure these incidents don't happen because we don't want to lose our license," said Linda Curry, who hosts a property in Mesa.
Bell and Curry are with the group "Arizonans for Responsible Tourism Recovery." They said the bill specifically targets "party homes" that have given the industry a bad rep.
"We need the right type of balance. Where it's not overboard and it'll kill off our industry because our industry is brand new and it's growing and it's helping Arizona grow," said Bell.
"This will take care of those few bad actors in the industry so that mayors aren't forced to put zoning restrictions and take all of us out," said Curry.
The Senate passed the bill with overwhelming support. It'll be a few weeks before the House votes and if it becomes law, it will most likely go into effect in the fall.