limiting regulation of short-term rentals by local governments was approved
Tuesday by Indiana lawmakers and is on its way to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk.
The bill’s passage
likely marks the bookend of a yearlong debate over balancing property
owners’ rights and neighbors’ concerns as businesses like Airbnb continue to
grow in the state.
reflects the perfect balance of individual property rights and government
oversight,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Matt Lehman. “I look
forward to the governor signing this bill into law and making a national
statement that Indiana is open for business.”
The measure would
guarantee homeowners the ability to rent out their primary residence on
online platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO. In those instances, the
authority of cities and counties would be sharply curtailed.
For example, the
Indianapolis suburb of Carmel, which has some of the state’s highest average
incomes, adopted strict rules this year limiting the ability of residents to
list their primary homes on short-term rental websites and completely banned
renting out secondary homes.
The measure was
intended to discourage homeowners from using the service, with supporters of
such rules arguing that short-term rentals could cause safety concerns,
noises and other violations.
Under the bill, the
city would be prohibited from enforcing much of their ordinance. But Carmel
could still regulate secondary properties, including setting restrictive
zoning standards and requiring a city permit.
cities -- unlike Carmel -- which passed ordinances regulating short-term
rentals before the end of 2017 would be grandfathered in and permitted to
The bill is
significantly scaled back from last year’s proposal that would have
dramatically cut down regulations on short-term rentals. That effort fell
one vote short of passage in the House.
This year, Lehman
compromised and the House voted 73-19 Tuesday to give the measure final
If Holcomb signs
the bill, Indiana will become the fourth state -- following Florida, Idaho
and Arizona -- to protect short-term rentals under state law, said The
Travel Technology Association, a Virginia-based advocacy group.
Airbnb’s top trending U.S. city,” said Laura Spanjian, Airbnb Midwest policy
director, in a statement. She added that their presence has boosted tourism
industry in South Bend, Bloomington, Fort Wayne and Evansville.
It is uncertain
whether the governor will sign the bill into law.
“This bill is not a
part of the governor’s legislative agenda,” said Stephanie Wilson,
spokeswoman for Holcomb. “He will review all bills that arrive on his desk
carefully before making a decision.”