City council passes new regulations for VRBOs

The regulations will affect mainly apartment complexes with more than four units.

The city council amended the city code regarding regulation of vacation home rentals at the city council meeting last Wednesday. Most residences and dwellings being used as vacation rentals will not be affected under the new code changes.
The main change to the regulations will prevent apartment complexes from converting their units from yearly rentals which house permanent renters to vacation rentals, essentially turning their apartment complex into a hotel.
One apartment complex in Page, Westview apartments, has already converted several of its units to vacation rentals.
The new regulations aren’t necessarily aimed at Westview, or any other apartment complex, but a growing concern that more apartment complexes might be converting their units to vacation rentals was the impetus behind the council’s decision, said Josh Smith, Page city attorney.
“The impetus was all the people complaining to the city that they were worried they were going to be forced out of the apartment at the end of their lease,” said Smith.
The city had been hearing news that other apartment complexes were planning to follow the lead of Westview Apartments and convert some or all of their units to VRBOs, said Smith.
With housing already so tight in Page the city council felt they had to move now to avoid losing even more family housing.
“We have a shortage of housing, and the lack of housing is driving up prices,” said Smith. “
The City of Page adopted the state of Arizona’s definition of what does and does not comprise a vacation rental.
According to ordinance No. 643-18 vacation home rentals are limited to individually or collectively owned single-family or one-to four-family house or dwelling units or any unit or group of units in a condominium, cooperative or timeshare, that is also a transient public lodging establishment or owner-occupied residential home offered for transient use if the accommodations are not classified for property taxation under section 42-12001. Use of any other unit, dwelling, or group of units or dwellings as a vacation rental for short-term rental is prohibited. Vacation rentals do not include a unit that is used for an non-residential use, including retail, restaurant, banquet space, event center or another similar use.
Under the new regulations, people operating a vacation rental no longer need a conditional use permit. Owners and operators of vacation rentals should notify the city of an emergency point of contact. All vacation rentals still need to comply to all noise, parking, property maintenance and fire codes.
During last Wednesday’s city council meeting it was reported that vacation rental owners were doing a less-than-stellar job of reporting the income from their VRBOs. While the city collected $109,000 in hotel taxes last year, they collected only $1,000 from vacation rentals.

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