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City of Tempe looking to further regulate short-term rentals after 'alarming weekend incident'

As the rate of shootings at house parties in short-term rentals continues to climb, the City of Tempe is taking steps to address rental properties.

TEMPE, Ariz. — New regulations for short-term rentals could soon be coming to Tempe.

Over Halloween weekend, gunfire erupted at a house party in one neighborhood near University and Hardy Drives. Although no one was injured, it's the latest in a series of incidents happening at short-term rentals that has city officials reexamining how they handle these properties.

"We have collected over 60 shell casings on that scene," said Tempe Police Chief Jeffrey Glover. "The mere fact that nobody was injured or hurt is very much a miracle."

The shooting happened at an Airbnb, where more than 100 people gathered on Saturday, Glover said.

"During the course of this incident, there were several rounds that were fired from multiple handguns," Glover added.

New regulations proposal

The City of Tempe announced on Tuesday that it would be taking steps to further regulate short-term rentals. 

As part of the changes, the city is turning to the community for their views on proposed local regulations that would be among the strictest in the state.

"They frankly should not be having parties at Airbnb's or Vrbo's or any kind of short-term rental in the first place," Mayor Corey Woods said.

RELATED: Loose gun laws, drugs, and social media play role in house party shootings, experts say

The city council proposed the following regulations for owners of short-term rental properties:

  • Require an annual $250 regulatory permit
  • Provide proof of a valid sales tax license and evidence the rental is registered with the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office
  • Notify all residential properties adjacent to, directly, and diagonally across the property of their emergency contact information. Responses to complaints would be required from the property owner within one hour for complaints for which police is dispatched or 24 hours for non-emergency complaints. 
  • Maintain liability insurance of at least $500,000
  • Conduct a sex offender background check for every person who books a rental – and possibly all those staying on the property.
  • Require the display of the local regulatory permit or license number on advertisements

Proposed penalties for violations and additional information can be found at tempe.gov/ShortTermRentals

The Mayor said implementing new regulations can help prevent violent scenes and hold those responsible who not just cause the violence but the property owners and renters as well. 

"How to make sure that, one, we are really holding the homeowner or the LLC accountable for the operation that they're running, but also the person who ends up renting the home," Woods said. "The reality is that they should be held responsible as should the people they bring into the home while they're there."

Next step

The city is also holding two public meetings for community members to provide feedback on the proposed changes. A virtual meeting will take place at noon on Monday, Nov. 14. An in-person meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Nov. 16 at the Escalante Multi-Generational Center on Orange Street.

There will also be two public hearings at the Tempe City Council Regular Council Meetings on Dec. 15 and Jan. 5.

Scottsdale and Mesa have passed similar ordinances regulating short-term rentals in those cities. Both don't go into effect until 2023.

RELATED: Police: Gunfire at Airbnb house party in Tempe, no injuries reported

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