City of Scottsdale requires licensing for short-term and vacation rentals, but many don’t comply

The city of Scottsdale says you have to licensed homes that will be used for short term or vacation rentalslike an Airbnb, but as the deadline to register comes and goes, many homes are not compliant.

Order 4655 was passed unanimously by the city on November 28, and enforcement of the ruling began just days after the new year.

“Under the ordinance, owners of short-term/vacation rentals must obtain and maintain an annual municipal license for each property. Scottsdale’s licensing portal opens November 28, 2022, and owners of short-term rental properties Existing term/vacation must obtain licenses by Jan. 8, 2023. New short-term/vacation rental properties must also comply with ordinance requirements and be licensed before being offered for rent in Scottsdale.” , we read in part in a press release.

The license costs $250 per property, per year. The city says any fees collected will cover license vacations and short-term rental fees.

If a rental is currently listed, the city will send a letter notifying the home owner and/or operator of the changes and detailing how to apply for the license online.

Regarding the licensing requirementsScottsdale has listed a few.


You must have liability insurance and do a sex offender background check on guests. The property should be cleaned after each use, have working smoke alarms and carry out routine pest control.

Neighbors will also need to be informed if the property is going to be rented out for a short term stay.

The property also cannot be used to host an event, which is in line with the rules of several short-term/holiday rental sites for hosting parties.

A city council report from October 25 reads in part: As of September 20, 2022, city staff have identified approximately 2,800 short-term rental properties advertising or recently listed properties for rent in Scottsdale. Identification of these properties was made through the use of the city’s contracted technology provider and other city systems. These are properties known to advertise and their locations are known. In addition, there are at least 1,500 other live listings in Scottsdale whose address is unknown. These are usually condominiums or townhouses, city staff asked Airbnb and VRBO to help identify these properties. This represents a total estimate of approximately 4,300 short-term rental properties currently in operation in Scottsdale.”

In August, Kate Bauer, who co-founded the Neighbors Not Nightmares group to tackle what she sees as a growing problem in the Valley, talked about the issue.

“They throw these parties, it’s constant. Every weekend they throw another party. So the people who live around them, they’re constantly nervous waiting for the next party. They spend their weekends at basically doing property management, calling the cops all the time trying to keep the noise down,” she said of rental properties around the Valley.

Scottsdale resident Bill Hunter has a harsh analogy to what short-term rentals can do to a community.

“It’s a terrible analogy, but it’s a bit like drug trafficking,” he said, adding that for people who use rentals, it’s fine, but it’s a disaster for all other members of the community.

Many rentals do not seem to comply

As the deadline to clear short-term rental properties came and went, we learned as of January 9 that just under 400 homes have officially been cleared – that’s out of around 5,000 homes.

1,504 licenses are being processed and 3,000 properties have not been registered at all.

“Our licensing process aims to make these operators accountable to the neighbors they affect,” said Kelly Corsette of the City of Scottsdale.

Hunter has his doubts but thinks it’s a good first step for Scottsdale.

“Good start, Scottsdale. But enforcement will be key,” he said.

Scottsdale says it already sends code enforcement notifications to rentals that haven’t started the licensing process. The minimum fine is $1,000 per violation.

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