Carmel works to balance short-term rental rights, concerns

January 14, 2018

An Indianapolis suburb has adopted rules on short-term home rental services like Airbnb as state lawmakers are again considering whether to ban such local regulations.

Carmel officials said they're working to balance the rights of property owners who want to rent their homes on Airbnb and the concerns of their neighbors.

The city just north of Indianapolis has some of Indiana's highest average incomes.

Carmel's city council unanimously approved the ordinance regulating short-term rental homes last Monday, The Indianapolis Star reported. The move follows a crackdown last year on Carmel residents who were listing their homes on the online marketplace.

Under the new ordinance, residents will have to apply for a variance, which is similar to a permit, in order to list their homes on a short-term rental site. The variance is only eligible to individuals who live in their homes. The rule is intended to discourage investors from buying properties to rent.

Carmel resident Shannon Minnaar spoke in favor of the new rules during last week's hearing. She told the council that an investor had bought a property in her neighborhood as a short-term rental and some of his guests were less than courteous, including one who blocked her driveway with a car.

"We had new neighbors every single weekend for four months," she said. "I never met the owner or laid eyes on him."

The new variance will cost $100 in the first year and $50 for annual renewals. Homes will not be able to be rented for longer than 30 days.

Although the City Council approved the ordinance, members said they may propose changes to some of the rules.

A bill that would've prohibited cities and towns from putting restrictions on short-term rental services narrowly failed during the state's 2017 legislative session.

Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, is sponsoring a similar bill this year. It is awaiting action by the Senate commerce committee, of which he is chairman.


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