AZ - Sedona will pay homeowners to not use homes as Airbnb rentals

A lack of available housing has prompted Sedona to pilot a program that incentivizes homeowners to lease out their homes to local workers.

SEDONA, Ariz. — The city of Sedona is willing to pay thousands of dollars to local homeowners who offer long-term leases to local workers who can't find a place to live.

A lack of affordable housing in the area has prompted city officials to allocate funds for a pilot program that incentivizes homeowners to stop leasing out their homes to visiting tourists.

On Tuesday, the Sedona City Council approved spending $240,000 on stipends for property owners who currently rent out their homes through short-term rental services like VRBO and Airbnb.  

The program would pay homeowners anywhere from $3,000 for a single bedroom all the way up to $10,000 for a 3-bedroom house. In exchange, the homeowner would agree to rent to a local worker for a one-year lease.

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

Some resorts have already begun buying houses in neighboring cities to provide cheaper housing for their employees.

But the Rent Local program does not, in most cases, provide as much money to the homeowner as a short-term rental would.

One rental owner texted 12News that he’d consider the plan, “If the City of Sedona is willing to be paying $6,000 a month because that’s the average amount of income we make.”

Other rental owners said they wouldn’t be able to take the city up on its offer because they live in their rentals part-time and couldn’t commit to a year lease.

“It's huge, you know, to have two homes and you know, it helps to offset that,” Kesha Engel said. “I mean, we don't make a profit per se, but we're able to live there and cover the utilities and a lot of the expenses.”

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