Sedona will pay residents not to use homes as Airbnb rentals

The City of Sedona is offering an incentive for homeowners not to use their homes as Airbnb rentals.

City Council approved one $240,000 program earlier this week, it would prompt homeowners to rent their homes to local workers due to a lack of affordable housing. According to city data, only 4% of the total number of housing units in the city are apartments, which is significantly lower than the state average of 16%.

“People working in Sedona are struggling to find housing due to soaring real estate prices and vacation rentals dominating the rental market,” city officials said.

Nearly 15% of residences in Sedona are short-term rentals, making them unavailable and financially “inaccessible” to working residents. The Rent Local program would pay homeowners anywhere from $3,000 for a single bedroom to up to $10,000 for a three-bedroom home.

In exchange, the owner would convert his vacation rental into a long-term rental. They would be leased to a local worker on a one-year lease or sublet to a local business on a two-year lease.

The program is expected to begin accepting applications on September 1.

“Way beyond my budget”

Ask the staff at the Coffee Pot restaurant downtown who would like to live where they work.

“I couldn’t live here now because of the cost of living,” says Luanne Murray.

Amanda Hobbs agrees.

“It’s too expensive. It’s way out of my budget,” Hobbs said. She is a waitress at the restaurant and lives 30 minutes away in Clarkdale.

She says it’s easier to pay for her RV and a spot than living in Sedona.

Damien Daher owns the restaurant and says he likes any idea that will help make housing more affordable for thousands of local workers. But, will owners of short-term rentals go for it?

“I think there will definitely be interest,” Daher said. “Knowing that their accommodation will be rented all year round.”

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