Sedona will pay residents to not use homes as Airbnb rentals

The city of Sedona is offering an incentive for homeowners to not use their houses as Airbnb rentals.

The city council approved a $240,000 program earlier this week that would incentivize homeowners to lease out their homes to local workers because of a lack of affordable housing. According to data from the city, only 4% of total dwelling units in the city are apartments - drastically below the 16% average in the state. 

"People working in Sedona struggle to find housing due to skyrocketing real estate prices and vacation rentals dominating the rental market," city officials said.

Nearly 15% of residences in Sedona are short-term rentals, making them unavailable and financially "unattainable" for working residents. The Rent Local program would pay homeowners anywhere from $3,000 for a single bedroom to up to $10,000 for a three-bedroom home.

In exchange, the homeowner would convert their vacation rental into a long-term rental. They would rent out to a local worker on a one-year lease or sublet to a local business on a two-year lease.

The program is expected to start accepting applications on Sept. 1.

‘Way out of my budget’

Ask staff at the Coffee Pot restaurant in the center of town who would love to live where they work.

"I couldn't live here now because of the cost of living," says Luanne Murray.

Amanda Hobbs agrees.

"It's too expensive. Way, way out of my budget," Hobbs said. She's a server at the restaurant and lives 30 minutes away in Clarkdale.

She says it's easier to pay for her RV and a space for it than it is to live in Sedona.

Damien Daher owns the restaurant and says he likes any idea that will help make housing more affordable for thousands of local workers. But, will short-term rental owners go for it?

"I think there will definitely be interest," Daher says. "Knowing their place will be rented out all year."

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