Toledo city councilors seek to regulate Airbnb and Vrbo operators

June 23 – Toledo City Council members Theresa Gadus and Katie Moline believe their proposed short-term rental regulation would protect landlords and guests by setting occupancy limits and establishing safety standards.

“Many other cities have taken a much stricter course to the point that some have instituted moratoria to even not allow short-term rentals,” Moline said at a committee meeting on the issue Wednesday after- midday. “We’ve tried to find a good middle ground where we can promote safe neighborhoods, we can ensure the safety of guests, but we also allow these services to engage.”

Ms Gadus and Ms Moline introduced the legislation in May following complaints from residents about disruptive large parties during short-term rentals. They put a vote on hold to hear from community members first.

If the ordinance passes, landlords who rent homes for 30 days or less – such as those using Airbnb or Vrbo platforms – would need to obtain a license to operate legally.

The bylaw would set the maximum occupancy at two occupants per bedroom plus two additional people. It would also impose safety standards, including fire safety and carbon monoxide monitoring, as well as contact information for a local representative who would be on call around the clock to address complaints or concerns within 45 minutes of notification. .

The annual permit would incur a fee of $ 50 and applicants would need to provide proof of liability insurance of at least $ 1 million and be up to date or on a payment plan for taxes and utilities. Any owner operating a short-term rental without a valid license would be subject to a weekly fine of $ 100 to a maximum of $ 500, depending on the legislation.

The legislation exempts state-approved health facilities; hotels, motels and inns; guest rooms duly approved by the city of Toledo; campgrounds and lodgings rented under a written monthly lease.

“This should not disrupt the normal and intended uses of the services we are talking about with short term rentals,” Ms. Moline said.

Only a handful of Toledoans attended the 3 p.m. committee meeting at the One Government Center, but City Councilor Rob Ludeman said numerous emails on the matter had arrived.

Carol Walls, who owns rental properties but does not participate in Airbnb-type short-term rentals, said more people would likely have attended Wednesday’s meeting if it had been held after normal business hours. She raised concerns about the proposed order and said she believed the problem was that the booking platforms were not properly vetting the customers, and not the owners themselves.

“Vrbo or Airbnb or whoever they’ve booked through is who surveys the people who stay there, not the owners of the property,” she said. “I think you go after the wrong people.”

Anna Mills, a local real estate investor, shares the same point of view. She also took issue with the proposed order’s requirement that short-term rental operators post their licenses on the property and send notifications by mail to all adjacent properties.

“I think that needs to be thought about a bit,” she said.

Ms Gadus and Ms Moline said they had researched how other cities in Ohio and how major US cities handle the regulation of short-term rentals, and also sought feedback from current operators in Toledo. . Ms Gadus pointed out that the regulations are about the type of rental used for a weekend or vacation – almost like a hotel room – and not a month-to-month or half-year lease with a landlord.

“It gives neighbors transparency about what’s going on in their neighborhood, it gives support to hosts of an Airbnb … As we’ve worked with people and with the legal department, it’s all about staying safe. , healthy, and vibrant neighborhoods, ”said Ms. Gadus.

Councilor Cerssandra McPherson and Mr Ludeman expressed concerns about the government’s overbreadth and questioned whether the city’s nuisance bylaws already cover issues such as overcrowding and loud parties.

“Are we going into areas that are not our area of ​​governance? I question that,” Ms. McPherson said.

The proposed by-law could be put to a vote at the next municipal council voting session, scheduled for July 20 at 4 p.m.

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