Permits might be required for short-term home rentals

Local municipalities would be able to exercise some control over short-term rentals in their communities under an amendment approved in the Senate on Monday.

House Bill 1133, which would prevent local government from banning the Airbnb-style businesses, would give municipalities the ability to require short-term rental hosts to pay for a permit in order to host guests.

Under the amendment, a local government entity would be able to charge short-term rental hosts up to $200 for the permit, which would expire after one calendar year. A host that continues business without a permit could be cited.

Rental sites that receive three citations for ordinance violations within one calendar year would have their permit revoked. They could reapply for a permit after one calendar year has passed, as long as they have completely paid their outstanding fines.

Author of the amendment, Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, said that while the bill remains relatively true to it’s original form, he thinks these changes make it better.

“If you’ve got a bad landlord who continues to rent to bad tenants, who doesn’t want to try and control them, but is simply taking the money and acting as an absentee landlord, then there’s a process here that will control that,” Head said.

Though Head said he worked to compromise with fellow Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, on the legislation, she strongly opposed his changes.

“I gave up everything and got nothing,” Tallian said. “I gave up the idea that, OK, I’ll concede that a rental unit is a permitted use in an R1. But I got nothing back that said, OK, we can then tax these people.”

Tallian had proposed an amendment that would have included an innkeeper’s tax on short-term rentals but it was shot down by the Senate. 

HB 1133 comes on the heels of Carmel's recent decision to send letters to 28 residents who rent out their homes on Airbnb, stating that they are in violation of city zoning laws. The letter demanded the owners cease operations within 10 days or file a request for a zoning variance.

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