Sandy to consider lifting a ban on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites

Posted at 5:20 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 20:27:41-04

SANDY, Utah -- The city council is expected to vote next week on an ordinance that would lift a ban on short-term rentals like Airbnb.

For years now, Sandy has prohibited them. There are hundreds of vacation rentals available in Sandy, but Mayor Kurt Bradburn said they have been operating illegally.

He's pushing the council to vote in favor of an ordinance lifting the ban.

"The market and the demand is moving this way and one thing I feel passionate about is government is responsive to the market," Mayor Bradburn told FOX 13 on Friday.

The proposed ordinance would allow people to rent a room or their home for less than 30 days at a time. But homeowners looking to rent their rooms would also have to get a permit from the city.

"It's kind of a first come, first serve basis," the mayor said. "They'll be represented around geographic locations so each neighborhood will have a certain number."

The ordinance would set a cap on how many homes would be able to do it. More would be allowed closer to the canyons and the ski resorts.

Short-term rentals have faced resistance from the hotel industry, but the Utah Hotel and Lodging Association said it liked the concept of Sandy's proposed ordinance.

"The Utah Hotel & Lodging Association opposes any law or ordinance that enables short-term rentals to have an unfair competitive advantage against hotels. The proposed ordinance in Sandy, however, strikes the proper balance between allowing homeowners to supplement their income on a limited basis while eliminating their ability to operate as de facto hotels without being subjected to the same regulations and taxes," the group said in a statement to FOX 13.

An Airbnb spokeswoman said they were glad to see Sandy changing its ordinance.

"Airbnb helps families in Sandy City earn a little extra money to help make ends meet, while increasing lodging options to help the city welcome a growing number of visitors. We're pleased to see Sandy City considering allowing residents and the community to receive the economic benefits of home sharing, and encourage lawmakers to enact clear, fair rules that are easy for hosts to follow and for the city to enforce," said Laura Rillos of Airbnb Public Affairs.

The Sandy City Council will hear public comment on Tuesday at 7 p.m.