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$250 license now required for Mesa short-term rental owners

Owners of short-term rentals in Mesa will be required to obtain a license for $250.

MESA, Ariz. — The City of Mesa is cracking down on its short-term rental market with a new ordinance taking effect Feb. 1. It requires owners of short-term or vacation rentals of less than 30 days to get a license.

The license costs $250.

The measure was approved by city council in October 2022. The move follows a push by the Arizona Legislature and rental companies to stop the rentals from being public nuisances in local communities. 

“Community input helped shape the provisions in the ordinance, and its implementation will provide greater clarity for both the general public and property owners of short-term rentals,” Mayor John Giles said in a news release.

The city said short-term rental properties without a license can face civil penalties starting at $250 for the first month, $500 for the second, $750 for the third, and $900 for every month after that. 

“Going forward, the addition of the license codifies the requirements and expectations, to better serve both the residents of Mesa and the property owners,” said Giles.

While the city doesn't have exact numbers on how many short-term rental properties are in Mesa, it's estimated there are 2,000 short-term rental properties. 

"We've got 82 licenses issued, we've got 76 more of them in the pipeline," Tim Meyer, Mesa's Business License Administrator told 12News. 

The ordinance outlines numerous new requirements for short-term rental owners, including:

  • Short-term rental owners must acquire a new Mesa license
  • Contact information of the local person responsible for responding to emergencies and complaints
  • Notifying neighbors that the property will be used for short-term rentals
  • Obtaining minimum liability insurance
  • Numerous prohibitions on how owners can use the property, including housing sex offenders, selling liquor or illegal drugs, and other special events
  • Creates new possible civil penalties against offending owners

"I think it's going to help the neighbors a lot. I think it's going to give the property owners notification of what needs to be done, and I think everybody wants to be a good neighbor," Meyer said. 

Mesa joins other Valley cities including Glendale, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley in issuing short-term rental ordinances after then Gov. Doug Ducey signed a new state law in July giving cities the powers to do so.

While short-term rentals are an option for travelers, sometimes they become a nuisance for neighbors.

The City of Mesa has gotten complaints from neighbors about short-term rental properties, Meyer said. 

Andrew LeBaron, the owner of short-term rental management company BuyMoreTime.com, said there is a stigma with short-term rentals. But believes ordinances like these will help. 

"I believe something like this, this ordinance will be helpful in promoting best business practices, then hopefully changing that name," LeBaron said. 

Rental companies have also instituted new policies to discourage parties from happening at their properties. Airbnb, for instance, banned 6,000 people last year for breaking the new rules. However, that didn't seem to slow bookings in the Valley.

RELATED: Mesa to regulate city's short-term rentals

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