The Interim Study Committee on Commerce and Economic Development is entertaining proposed findings as to “short term rentals” (e.g. Airbnb type rentals). The draft findings are as follow:
(1) The Committee finds that there is an increasing demand for short term rentals from travelers of all types, and that it would serve the people of Indiana well to ensure the availability of short term rentals throughout the state.
(2) The Committee finds that current tools exist within local governments in the form of ordinances or other actions that apply to long term rental homes and traditional residential homes (e.g., noise, parking, and trash ordinances) that can also be applied to address any issues caused by a short term rental.
(3) The Committee finds that short term rentals often offer accommodations in neighborhoods without
traditional lodging options resulting in positive economic impacts and important opportunities for tourism development.
(4) The Committee finds that short term rentals provide additional income opportunities for Hoosiers that participate.
(5) The Committee finds that the residential use of one’s home is a basic property right and that participation as a short term rental host does not impact the residential character of the home.
(6) The Committee finds that short term rental platforms and short term rental hosts acknowledge that
applicable taxes are owed on short term rentals and the Committee defers to the work of the Interim Study Committee on Fiscal Policy on the issue of taxation.
The recommendation would be that the policy of the state be to prevent “undue restrictions” on the use of a person’s primary residence as a short-term rental.
I don’t have any particular expertise on this issue, but it seems to me the proposed findings pass the buck (almost literally) on the issue of how to make sure these folks pay the proper amount of income tax, innkeeper’s tax, or whatever the case may be.
Additionally, the finding about local government having the tools to address noise, nuisance, and parking problems might be a little optimistic. Anyone who has had to deal with bad neighbors knows how inadequate these tools can be. That said, I don’t know that “short term” rentals are any worse than long term rentals. My suspicion is that I’d rather live next to an owner-occupied residence where the owner rents out a couple of weeks a year than a residence that is solely used as a rental. To the extent this becomes the basis for actual legislation, I guess I’d like to see some sort of ratio of days leased versus days owner-occupied in the definition of short-term rental. If the turn over is too frequent and too rapid, it becomes a business better suited in a commercial zone than a residential zone. Also, this is an issue where the best implementation might vary from place to place, so the State should defer to the locals and avoid trampling on home rule.