Should Anchorage put regulatory guardrails, restrictions, fees, and associated fines on short-term rental establishments?
That’s up for public discussion at Tuesday’s Anchorage Assembly meeting, where an ordinance is being considered to license and regulate these mom-and-pop operations that have popped up in recent years.
The problem the Assembly appears to be trying to solve is that, with this new business model, “there is a need to understand this market and ensure proper operation of the STR [short-term rentals] for the enjoyment of the renter and the neighborhoods in which they operate.”
The sponsors, Meg Zaletel and Randy Sulte, say in their proposed ordinance, introduced in October, that “there is a desire to provide additional assurances that STR units meet current applicable provisions of the land use, fire, health and other applicable Anchorage Municipal Codes for the safety of renters and property owners,” and that neighbors are able to still have “peaceful enjoyment” of their homes.
The ordinance establishes a short-term rental license and permitting process, and gives the Municipal Clerk leeway to promulgate regulations. Starting in May, anyone operating a short-term rental would have to have such a license, which would not be transferrable to a new owner of the property. The license would have to be renewed every two years at the Clerk’s Office. Property owners would have to carry at least $500,000 in insurance, or show that their online reservation system or hosting platform (AirBnb) provides the insurance.
License fees are set at $400 per unit, to be paid to the Municipal Clerk. There is no wording in the ordinance that would set a limit on how many short-term rentals can be licensed.
In the Alaska Legislature, Rep. Andrew Gray has a bill that would limit each Alaskan to being able to own just one short-term rental unit. Sen. Forrest Dunbar has a bill to force short-term rental owners to rent to Alaskans.
Current state requirements for short-term rentals can be found at the Department of Commerce.
Other provisions in the ordinance can be found at this link.