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Arizona GOP, Democratic Leaders Agree On Issues That Ail Short-Term Rentals

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law in 2016 that stops local governments from creating their own rules for short-term rentals like Airbnb.

The move was hailed by many Republicans for promoting the “sharing economy.”

Fast forward several years, and some Republicans are having second thoughts. Their constituents have complained that neighborhoods are being upended by the short-term housing market.

Senate President Karen Fann, a Prescott Republican, said that’s in part because the Legislature put handcuffs on local leaders.

“I personally think it totally connects with the fact that our cities and towns, their hands have been tied with being able to enforce their planning and zoning, and their private property versus commercial property ruling,” Fann said.

“On one hand I am all in favor of free market — why shouldn’t grandma be able to rent her house out for a month if she wants to go visit her kids,” she added. “But we don’t have the guidelines, those guardrails to make sure things don’t go off the rails, and that’s what happened.”

Rep. Charlene Fernandez, the Democratic minority leader in the House, agreed that local control can help solve the issues facing cities and towns.

“As a state Legislature, we came in and preempted that,” Fernandez said. “I think we need to revisit local control to make sure that we’re talking to our city councilmembers, our community members, the leaders and see exactly what’s happening in their areas.”

It’s not often to hear leaders on either side of the aisle in agreement. Fann and Fernandez’s sentiments are a good sign for local officials hoping the Legislature gives municipalities more authority to regulate short term rentals.

But lawmakers still face an obstacle in Ducey.

The governor has said he’s opposed to measures that significantly walk back the law he signed four years ago.

News Business
Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.