Flouting the Law in Phoenix

The Grand Canyon. World class spas. Golf. Beautiful hiking trails. Illegal Hotels? Yep. In some of Arizona’s most popular vacation destinations, commercial operators are buying up residential properties and renting them out on Airbnb, just like a hotel, but without any of the rules and regulations other lodging businesses have to follow.

In the Phoenix metro area alone, 41 percent of Airbnb’s revenue totaling more than $17 million, came from illegal hotel operators. 

As one host who rents out seven residential units in Arizona on Airbnb told the Arizona State Senate: “I’ve tripled my income.” Hardly the image of the mom and pop occasionally renting out a spare room to pay the mortgage that Airbnb likes to paint.

It’s clear, unless state and local governments act to close the illegal hotel loophole, Airbnb will continue to be used by commercial operators looking to avoid the taxes and health and safety regulations that every other lodging business must follow.  If you’re in Phoenix, contact your state reps to let them know that a law they’re currently considering – SB 1350 – doesn’t do enough to protect communities and crack down on illegal hotels.

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