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Town of Fountain Hills News

Posted on: July 20, 2022

State Legislature Passes Bill to Help Cities and Towns to Address Short-Term Rental Party Houses

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. (July 20, 2022) – A new law will take effect in September, which provides relief to communities disrupted by unruly guests at short-term rental properties or "party houses." Gov. Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1168, which will help regulate vacation rentals, license rental properties, and suspend those licenses when repeated problems occur.

"The Town of Fountain Hills and partner municipalities in the State have fought long and hard alongside the League of AZ Cities and Towns to enact reasonable regulation of short term rental and party houses," said Mayor Ginny Dickey. "Vacation rentals are an economic boon for the tourism industry, but without local oversight, disruptive behavior and proliferation can hurt the character of our neighborhoods and contribute to reducing inventory available to full-time residents in our beautiful town. This new law will help us address this issue."

The bill allows municipalities like Fountain Hills to require short-term rentals to obtain a license from the city or town. The license fee can't exceed $250.

The Town can suspend licenses for vacation rentals with three "verified violations" in 12 months. Verified violations are defined as "a finding of guilt or civil responsibility for violating any state law or local ordinance" according to the law.

The violations cannot pertain to trash, aesthetics, or parking issues, though those violations can still result in fines through current Town ordinances.

Additionally, the Town can suspend licenses for one violation if it involves knowingly renting a property for a special event without required permits, housing sex offenders, or if felonies are committed at the property.

The law says municipalities can issue fines for all verified violations, increasing with each offense. The penalties can total the cost of one-, two- or three-night rentals at the property or $500, $1,000 or $3,500, whichever is higher.

Rental owners must also provide the owner's contact information to the municipality and adjacent properties.

The Town of Fountain Hills is looking closely at Paradise Valley and Scottsdale ordinances to serve as a reference for the Town's attorney, prosecutor, and MCSO leadership to craft its own Fountain Hills ordinance. The proposed ordinance will be brought to Town Council at an October regular meeting when the State law will be in effect.

 

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