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Scottsdale hopes to reduce problems with short-term rentals

January 8, 2022 GMT

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Scottsdale residents’ frustrations with noisy parties and other rowdy gatherings at short-term rentals in their neighborhoods have prompted the affluent Phoenix suburb to impose new accountability requirements on the property owners.

The City Council recently approved changes to local laws that include stiffening penalties for violations of Scottsdale’s noise ordinance and requiring owners to designate emergency contacts to respond to a property in person if there’s a disturbance or emergency.

The changes approved last month unanimously by the City Council took effect Friday.

Scottsdale formerly prohibited home rentals under 30 days, but a 2016 state law severely limits the ability of local governments to regulate short-term rentals.

Scottsdale estimates there are now more than 4,000 rental properties in its neighborhoods, KPNX-TV reported.

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“To respect your neighbors, that’s really our big thing,” said police Sgt. Kevin Quon. “We just really want everybody to be cordial and be peaceful because it is residential neighborhoods that they are going into”

With big events like the Phoenix Open happening soon, Quon said police will be ready to address disturbances that could arise.

Under the requirement for an emergency contact, the designated person must appear in person at the property within an hour if a disturbance or emergency occurs. Violations would be a civil offense punishable by a fine.

“This will really help to facilitate that there’s an actual contact for the police to talk to,” Quon said.

Also, the owner of a home with a nuisance party can get a minimum $750 fine on the first offense. Amounts increate upwards, reaching $2,500 for a fourth offense.

Brent Stockwell, Scottsdale’s assistant city manager, said the 2016 state law resulted in repeated calls for help by residents affected by vacation homes.

A working group formed by Scottsdale last year recommended numerous steps that the city should take, including improved monitoring and enforcement of local laws and rules still allowed under state law, a city statement said.

Stockwell said the noise ordinance was stiffened by adding noise levels and measurement criteria, increasing fines for hosts and property owners and defining habitual offenders.

“The whole reason that we had to do all this is because the state of Arizona, in a means to try and encourage short-term rentals in Arizona, has severely limited cities’ abilities to address it, so we’re trying to do everything within our authority to manage those problems when they occur,” Stockwell told KJZZ-FM.