2016 Bills

HB 409: Putting a Pause on Short-Term Rental Restrictions

This bill was not considered by the legislature.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Our first-of-a-kind Freest Cities Index analyzed municipalities throughout Utah on a number of important issues. One metric upon which cities were judged was whether they allowed, regulated, or prohibited short-term rentals of one’s residential property. Many residents use services like Airbnb or VRBO to rent part or all of their home, but in many cities throughout Utah, this activity is prohibited.

House Bill 409, sponsored by Representative John Knotwell, would place a one-year moratorium on the creation or change of a city’s land use ordinance relative to short-term rentals. This allows cities that currently regulate or ban the practice to continue to do so, but puts a “pause” on others doing the same.

A short-term rental does not inherently introduce a negative impact upon the health, safety, or welfare of neighbors; many are entirely unaware that their neighbor is occasionally renting part or all of their home. And should nuisances arise, cities have ample prosecutorial laws upon which to intervene against the offending renter or home owner.

These laws, as they are now constituted, violate the property rights of the home owner and should therefore be repealed. While HB409 does not take us that far, this bill is an appropriate path forward to ensure that cities throughout the state do not increasingly violate property rights.