Arizona city to pay homeowners not to use their properties as Airbnbs

Leaders in one Arizona city are going to pay homeowners not to put their houses on sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

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It isn’t because they want tourists to stop coming to Sedona. It’s because there isn’t enough housing for local workers who need long-term leases, KPNX reported.

Sedona City Council approved $240,000 to be used as stipends paid to homeowners to keep the houses from becoming short-term vacation rentals and instead rent them to people who are working in the area, KSAZ reported.

The city will pay $3,000 for a single bedroom, a studio will bring in $6,000, all the way to $10,000 for a 3-bedroom house under the Rent Local program, KPNX reported.

There are rules for homeowners and renters if they use the program.

Renters must work for a Sedona business for at least 30 days with at least 30 hours a week. Retirees and disabled residents can also be part of the program, which will run for at least a year or until the money runs out, KPNX reported.

City officials say there isn’t enough affordable housing in Sedona with almost 15% of the housing considered short-term rentals, KSAZ reported.

“You’d be really hard pressed to find anything for rent under $2,000,” Sedona Housing Director Shannon Boone told KPNX. “With gas prices rising, we can’t keep expecting people to live an hour away.”

But not all agree with the plan to pay property owners to stay away from Airbnb and VRBO.

One owner, who did not give his name to KPNX said that he’d consider it if the city gave him $6,000 a month because that is what he makes on average by offering his home as a vacation rental. Others live in their homes part-time so a long-term lease is not an option for them, KSAZ reported.