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Utah lawmakers take aim at short-term rentals: 3 things to know

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2022 | Land Use & Zoning |

Looking to buy an investment property in Utah and hoping to make money off of short-term rentals? This is often a great idea, as the mountain views, skiing and national parks are known to attract tourists through every season. Before diving into this market, for those who already have, it is important to know that there are often proposals to limit a property owner’s ability to rent out these units.

Just a few years ago, lawmakers addressed this problem when they passed a law that kept cities from using zoning ordinances to block property owners from using short-term rental platforms like VRBO and Airbnb. Unfortunately for property owners that are interested in this type of investment, those who are looking to block the efforts are persistent. Their most recent effort to put limits on short-term rental units focused instead on a need to increase affordable housing options in the state.

What was this new proposal?

Lawmakers presented this effort as an affordable housing bill. In addition to providing creating affordable housing, the proposal also included language to repeal the provisions that kept cities from enforcing zoning regulations aimed at short-term rentals noted above.

The move is likely in response to Park City Council’s goal of reaching 800 new affordable housing units. Since the announcement in 2016, the city has completed 132 qualifying units. Park City Council expects the city to reach the 800 mark in 2026.

Did the proposal survive?

The proposal as a whole moved forward with one key change: the removal of the provision that focused on short-term rentals. Rep. Steve Waldrip stated that the short-term rental provision got “a lot of pushbacks” causing members of Utah’s House and Senate to make many changes to the draft before it could move forward.

What does this mean for property owners in Utah?

Although additional restrictions on short-term rentals did not pass in this most recent attempt, the efforts highlight the likelihood that lawmakers will continue to look for ways to limit this option. Landowners are wise to stay current on these efforts to better ensure they take steps needed to protect their interests.