2022 Bills

HB 372 & HB 407: Weakening Free Speech and Property Rights for Short-term Rentals

HB 372 did not receive a vote. HB 407 did not receive a vote.

Libertas Institute opposes these bills

Staff review of the legislation finds that they violate our principles and must therefore be opposed.

Existing Utah state law acknowledges that the sole act of making a listing on a site like Airbnb and VRBO does not make you a criminal.

However, House Bill 372 — sponsored by Representative Carol Spackman Moss — would roll back this protection and enable cities to impose a civil penalty just for making a listing if their zoning doesn’t allow for short-term rentals. This would mean cities could scan rental websites and send out citations to property owners — independent of whether or not a rental ever actually took place.

House Bill 407, sponsored by Representative Gay Lynn Bennion, would enable cities to impose a criminal penalty for the violation of a short-term rental ordinance and defines violating such an ordinance two or more times in a 12-month period as a “repeated violation.” The bill also requires a court to order the maximum fine described in a city ordinance and specifies that the fine cannot be waived.

HB 372 violates free speech in an unreasonable fashion. HB 407 is harshly punitive for an activity that is otherwise perfectly legal as long as money does not exchange hands. They should both be opposed.