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Draper may regulate short-term rentals after double-fatal shooting at Airbnb

Posted at 9:59 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 16:10:41-04

DRAPER, Utah — Lynelle Holman and Alannah Hall have been renting two rooms in their house on Airbnb since 2019.

“It’s a good way to practice entrepreneurship on a really small scale before going into something bigger," said Hall. "This is relatively low-risk for an entrepreneurial venture, and you learn how to communicate with customers and deal with problems, and it's just really fun for people to be able to do that."

"Learn marketing and tax resources, tax discounts, housekeeping," added Holman.

Shortly after a shooting at another Airbnb in Draper left two people dead in April, Mayor Troy Walker said in a City Council meeting that wanted to ban Airbnbs altogether.

“The banning idea was mine," he said. "It was sort of a kind of a knee-jerk reaction to the double homicide that we had.”

Now, Walker is taking an outright ban off the table, hoping City Council will create some reasonable regulations — like not allowing one-night stays or requiring an owner to be home when guests are there.

"St. George, some other cities have more of these probably than any other city because they're kind of vacation destination," said Walker. "So what we're hoping is we can glean some stuff from the way they've done it and make some of them may be a good fit for Draper.”

The problem is what Walker calls "rager parties" that Draper seems to have more than its fair share of, he said.

“When you have a double homicide, you almost have to step back and say, 'You know, we've had a few other incidents,'" said Walker. "This isn't the only one. And we've had a bunch of incidents involving firearms, so in this era of shooting and firearm use, it's making us concerned.”

Holman and Hall have already taken the issue into their own hands.

“We actually block it off every time we go on a vacation," said Hall. "We don't allow anyone to stay while we're not here.”

There’s always still a fear in opening up your home to a stranger that something could happen, they agreed.

In a statement to FOX 13, Airbnb wrote: "Airbnb bans parties, and we stand ready to support the mayor and city leaders in their efforts to develop fair short-term rental regulations."