Recent Arrest Demonstrates the Importance of STR Regulation

Photo Credit: 12 News

The battle for local control and municipalities and their attempts to reign in the excesses of short-term rentals (STRs) has turned into one of the most important issues across all of Arizona and is due to become a major platform piece for political candidates of all stripes in 2024 (we’ve spoken extensively about it, you can get up to date here). A very recent event in Scottsdale demonstrates exactly how important it is, and may turn into a clarion call for additional local control.

In what could rightly be described as a blockbuster of a discovery, Scottsdale police uncovered an incredible amount of drugs in a Scottsdale home often used as an STR. The totals? Over seven pounds of cocaine, 110 pounds of methamphetamine, and an absolutely shocking 1.7 million pills of fentanyl. This single sting found enough hard drugs to keep tens of thousands of Arizonans locked into a life of addiction.

Then again, what can we expect with the shackles that our state government has repeatedly put on municipalities regarding STR regulation? In what was clearly one of the most counterproductive turf wars of our time (fueled by significant lobbying from the STR industry), the state has repeatedly made it difficult for all municipalities to take matters into their own hands and implement the will of its citizenry. STRs operated with little oversight, and as such an environment perfect for criminality was set.

Meanwhile, as municipalities all across the state (and the country) have attempted to implement regulations that ranged from ambitious to common sense, they have been largely litigated into silence. While some of these regulations, such as that in Paradise Valley which seemed to have the desire to squeeze the industry out of the town entirely, were a bit of a stretch from a constitutional perspective, all regulations have faced opposition from a well-funded lobby and a legislature that would rather uphold a turd war than listen to its constituency.

Thankfully the state did relent a bit and did cede a tiny crumb of local control back to cities, and Scottsdale responded with new regulations that were compliant with the new state law. That said, this recent bust shows that those rules haven’t done enough to not embolden criminals from operating in plain sight within an STR.

And until we follow up with much more stringent rules and allow municipalities to better keep their citizenry safe and to defeat “party houses”, we have to imagine that crimes like this, as well as even more nefarious crimes, will continue on mostly unabated in our city and state.