Santa Fe passes new short-term rental restrictions

US: The city of Santa Fe, in New Mexico, has approved new restrictions for short-term rental owners in an effort to reduce the number of properties operating without permits.

The Santa Fe Council voted 8-1 on Thursday to limit the number of short-term rental units to one per person and to restricts owners using services such as Airbnb and Vrbo to one lodger a week in residential neighbourhoods. The new rules also add new reporting requirements aimed at helping find and crack down on illegal rentals.

The ordinance also requires short-term rental properties be no closer than 50 feet to existing rental properties.

“This is not a mom-and-pop operation any more – it’s become an industry,” said Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth, one of the bill’s sponsors.

Supporters of the new restrictions have said they are needed to maintain a sense of community in neighbourhoods overwhelmed by short-term rentals.

Others contend the new rules will not do enough. Councilor Michael Garcia said about 40 per cent of the short-term rentals in the city are illegal and called enforcement the city’s “No. 1 priority”.

Santa Fe planning and land use director Elias Isaacson said about 250 out of the 975 short-term rentals have city permits or registration to do business. He also said many have stopped operating during the coronavirus pandemic.