SB 221: Protecting Short-term Rentals
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Under current Utah law, local governments have the power to prohibit people from renting out a portion of their home as a short-term rental. When a property owner rents out a portion of their home for a period of fewer than 30 days, it is considered a short-term rental.
Short-term rentals are not unusual or revolutionary. Anytime your grandmother comes to stay or you have a friend spend the night, you are engaging in the same behavior. Restricting this practice simply because money is being exchanged is an unreasonable restriction on your ability to use your own property.
Five years ago, while conducting research for our Freest Cities Index, we discovered that many cities ban or restrict this practice.
Common complaints against short-term rentals include the potential for excessive noise, trash, and parking. When short-term rentals are owner-occupied though, there is a built-in defense against these issues: the owner. The bill also leaves all city ordinances regarding these nuisances intact and cities are free to enforce them.
Should this bill pass, all homeowners in Utah would have the option to rent out a room, a basement, or any portion of their primary residence as a short-term rental.
Amidst the economic hardships brought on by the pandemic response and the increasing housing prices in Utah, this change will provide an opportunity to create another stream of income for property owners. This change will also provide visitors and tourists with a wider range of choices, subsequently bringing tourists to localities that wouldn’t normally see the benefits of this industry.