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Sedona homeowners who rent their properties for short-term will soon face a stricter ordinance and tougher enforcement.

By Trista Steers

Larson Newspapers

Sedona homeowners who rent their properties for short-term will soon face a stricter ordinance and tougher enforcement.

Sedona City Council directed city staff in a work session Wednesday, Sept. 26, to strengthen the city’s existing ban on rentals of less than 30 days and step up prosecution.

"I’m not sure which part of ‘illegal’ people don’t understand. It’s illegal," Vice Mayor Jerry Frey said.

The issue came to council’s attention July 11 during a work session, at which time council asked city staff to look into two approaches — strengthen the ban and get tougher on enforcement, or make exceptions to the rules and allow some short-term rental.

Council chose to stick to the ban on the books.

Article 6 of the city’s Land Development Code says rental of single-family, mobile homes, multi-family or manufactured homes "for periods less than 30 consecutive days is prohibited."

According to City Attorney Mike Goimarac, the ban has most likely been on the books since enactment of the code in 1995.

Violation of the ban is a Class 1 misdemeanor and can carry a maximum fine of $2,500 and up to six months in jail.

With an estimated 300 homes available for short-term rental in Sedona, city code enforcement officer Jim Windham said the problem in the past has been enforcement.

According to Goimarac, the city has to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a homeowner is in fact renting the home for less than 30 days, which is where Windham said he has problems.

"We don’t know what’s going on inside the house," Windham said.

To address enforcement problems, council told staff to draft an ordinance that makes violations easier to prove. One revision will include banning the advertisement of short-term rentals — including Internet ads — allowing the city to go after rental companies and agencies who facilitate the deals.

Actual city enforcement depends on how much time and money council is willing to devote to stopping the practice.

"We are serious about this and we are going to prosecute," Councilman Rob Adams said.

Adams said it’s his duty as a councilman to protect the residents of Sedona. When someone moves into a residential area to live, they expect a neighborhood.

Residents who turned out in support of strengthening the ban said living next to short-term rentals is similar to living next to a hotel.

"I’m a resident. I don’t want a short-term rental next to me," Mayor Pud Colquitt said.

Homeowners currently renting their homes as short-term rentals stood up at the work sessions and admitted to breaking the law. They then asked council to instead enact regulations allowing the practice but attempting to keep it in check.

"I’m not in favor of awarding illegal behavior just because it’s difficult to enforce," Councilman Harvey Stearn said.

The city will continue to operate under the current ban until city staff brings a revision before council for approval.

Two violations the city is investigating could be filled
by the end of this week, according to City Manager Eric Levitt.



Trista Steers can be reached
at 282-7795, Ext. 129, or
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Wehms2

    I don't understand what gives "leaders" the impressioin that they have the "Rights" to stick their noses in peoples bedrooms(?)

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