May 12, 2022 - Business

Bill would prevent Ohio cities from regulating short-term rentals

Illustration of a luggage cart carrying apartments, a house, and high-rises.
Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Columbus is home to more than 1,000 Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, but a proposed law would give the city little to no say in how they operate.

Driving the news: Two dozen Republican lawmakers support House Bill 563, which would prevent local governments from regulating the "number, duration or frequency of rental periods for short-term rentals."

Why it matters: Because rentals have become popular alternatives to traditional hotel stays, it's not unique for communities to place restrictions on them to ward off nuisances in residential neighborhoods.

State of play: Columbus currently requires rental hosts to apply for permits, pass a background check and pay lodging taxes.

  • The city has 1,019 active short-term rental licenses, a Department of Public Safety spokesperson tells Axios.
  • Under an ordinance passed last year, hosts can have their licenses revoked if there are repeated calls for police and fire service or other reports of code violations.
  • Dublin, which sees an influx of tourists during the Memorial golf tournament, limits hosts to renting their units for two weeks per calendar year.

Meanwhile, Upper Arlington has banned short-term rentals in its residential districts entirely.

What they're saying: Bill sponsors Reps. Sarah Fowler Arthur (R-Ashtabula) and Ron Ferguson (R-Wintersville) say the law is necessary to protect the rights of private property owners.

The other side: Cities point to the "home rule" doctrine in the Ohio Constitution granting the right of municipal self-governance.

  • Officials representing Granville, Dublin, Westerville and Upper Arlington have all testified against the bill, as did the Ohio Mayors Alliance, which counts Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther as a board member.
  • "[The bill] is just one more attempt to micromanage local government," Dublin city manager Dana McDaniel told lawmakers.

What's next: Having cleared a legislative committee, the bill heads to the full Ohio House of Representatives for a vote.

  • It would also need approval from the Ohio Senate and Gov. Mike DeWine to become law.

If the lawmakers' proposal has you thinking about a unique staycation, here are two Airbnbs to consider:

Horses graze on a farm field.
A private farm in Delaware. Photo courtesy of Airbnb
A day at the farm

Location: A private farm in Delaware near the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

Features: Scenic views, meet-and-greets with farm animals and an in-ground pool.

Space: 2 beds, 1 bath, studio layout

Cost: $129+ per night

An RV where you want it

Location: Tow this 2021 Jayco camper wherever you'd like, or pay a fee to have it delivered to any campsite within 20 miles of Columbus.

Features: The RV comes equipped with kitchen appliances, dishware and toiletries.

Space: 3 beds, 1 bath, optional 4-person tent

Cost: $118+ per night

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