Scottsdale Begins Tracking Down 1,000 Short-Term Rental Owners

By Melissa Rosequist | Scottsdale Independent

Scottsdale’s new Short-Term Rental Working Group is halfway through its six planned meetings, with information and work already flowing from the municipal committee.

During the past three weeks, two city employees have identified 1,000 short-term rental locations in violation of contact or transaction privilege tax licensing requirements.

The working group was formed earlier this year to examine existing laws and tools available to the city regarding short-term rentals. Members include residents, Realtors®, hospitality officials and two Scottsdale City Council members.

On May 19, registration and code enforcement were discussed at length, with city officials offering insight into their work to investigate the registration of short-term rentals in Scottsdale.

Business Services Director Whitney Pitt explained the work happening with her department. She says short-term rental compliance is a top priority.

“A little less than three weeks ago, Business Services assigned one license inspector and one tax auditor to spend approximately 50% of their workload on short-term rental review,” Ms. Pitt told the city’s working group.

As of today, they have been able to identify 1,000 locations that do not have contact information on file or are not licensed with [Arizona Department of Revenue].”

– City of Scottsdale Director of Business Services Whitney Pitt

Short-term rental properties are required to register with Maricopa County; have contact information on-file with the City of Scottsdale; and they have a transaction privilege sales tax and a transient tax liability.

City staff will research payment history via ADOR for those that aren’t licensed and that may turn into tax audit leads, Ms. Witt said.

As of May 19, those two employees have sent 350 letters regarding these violations.

Ms. Witt said additionally, staff is looking at data received from utility accounts and working to get the information in a more manageable form.

There are about 22,000 accounts where mailing address is different from physical addresses, Ms. Witt said.

Short-term rental property owners who receive a letter from the city are being given two weeks to share contact information with the city or get their ADOR license.

Those who don’t respond or follow through will be subject to an ADOR violation, Ms. Witt says.

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