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New rules for Airbnb, other short-term rental owners in Phoenix

PHOENIX - It's something that's been seen in the Valley before - house parties getting out of hand at short-term rentals, some so bad that the cops had to be called.

But the City of Phoenix hopes a new ordinance will help keep properties in check and hold owners accountable.

Under the new rules adopted Wednesday by Phoenix City Council, owners of Airbnb, Vrbo or other short-term rental properties have to register with the city.

They also have to put emergency contact info in a visible place inside the rental property. That way, if officers do get called for whatever reason, they have a go-to person to contact.

In the event law enforcement does have to reach out to the emergency contact, the property owner or an owner's agent have 60 minutes to respond to the problem, either in person or over the phone.

"They might act as a great way to dissuade guests from acting inappropriately and encourage more positive behavior for hosts to be better neighbors to those who live around them," said property owner Ben Bethel.

Bethel has spent more than a decade working in hospitality, recently hosting rental properties for the past few years.

He said he has regular visitors including athletes during spring training, a popular draw to the area.

Bethel said he supports the new rules and would even welcome more regulation on the number of people allowed at properties, saying property owners need to be responsible.

"Hosts absolutely need to be great neighbors," he added.

But not all changes were welcome. Some critics spoke out at the council meeting, one saying designated contacts and a time limit to respond were unfair.

"It would not give the mom-and-pop owners who self-manage an opportunity to respond in such a quick window of time," one speaker said.

The city council did scale some of the original proposal back but ultimately passed the new ordinance 8 -1, aiming to help prevent another neighborhood nightmare.

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Author: Erica Stapleton 12 News

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