Air BNB rentals are not legal in Salt Lake City, but allowed (Photo: KUTV)
(KUTV)- The Salt Lake City Council is considering an ordinance that suggests they prohibit short-term rentals – including vacation rentals like those found on Airbnb and VRBO.
Salt Lake City Councilman, Derek Kitchen, said the proposed regulations were not designed to eliminate vacation rentals.
They were designed to increase long-term rental housing during a time when there is a big housing shortage in the city.
“What we are trying to do here is figure out a creative way to add additional housing to the market,” he said.
Kitchen said the current rules allow accessory dwelling units (ADU’s) within a half mile of transit lines.
ADU’s are small apartments that share a lot with single-family homes. This includes apartments inside basements or garages.
To create more housing, the city is considering an expansion of the zone where ADU’s can be built to provide more long-term rentals.
City leaders are aware that there are many ADU’s currently that are operating illegally.
The goal of the new ordinance would be to set clear rules and encourage property owners to create new ADU’s that are up to code and legal.
The same proposal, as drafted by the city’s planning department, suggests prohibiting ADU’s for short-term rentals.
That proposal is under consideration but is not final and not ready for a vote or public comment. The next public discussion on the matter is May 1.
Kitchen, who has used Airbnb or VRBO to rent homes during his travels, thinks vacation rentals have value and deserve a separate discussion.
He’d like to see the language regarding short-term rentals scrapped in the ADU ordinance and a separate ordinance drafter to address vacation rentals.
Julie Ayers, a South Jordan resident, has been renting her basement through Airbnb for six months.
She’s hosted people from France as well as Utahns who need a temporary place to live.
Her basement is spacious and includes a kitchen, rec area, two bedrooms and modern furnishings.
“We just have so much space down here that’s wasted. It’s fun to put it to good use,” she said.
While Julie wouldn’t be impacted by Salt Lake’s ordinance, she hopes cities won’t outlaw or put too many restrictions on vacation rentals.
She feels they are good for tourism and it’s better for cities to host people in private homes because it’s more environmentally friendly to use existing structures than to build hotels.
“I just feel like when cities get involved, they take away our opportunity for growth,” she said.