Controversial Airbnb bill headed to the house floor

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A house committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would prohibit cities from stopping people listing their homes on Airbnb and other short-term property rental platforms.

This comes just a week after the City of Carmel sent out a letter to all of its residents listing their properties on those sites asking them to take the listings down, citing they were in violation of city zoning ordinances.

“I think it is a simple property rights issue in my opinion," State Representative Jim Lehman, R- Bluffton, said. "It’s my house. If I want to rent it over the BMW weekend up at Crooked Stick I should have every right to do that.”

“This not good legislation. First of all it’s micromanagement by the state legislature," Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said. "Secondly, local cities have done their zoning for decades in the state of Indiana and to pick one little category and say, ‘oh you’re in charge of zoning except for this thing,’ is terrible policy.”

One thing Brainard and Lehman do agree on is that neither want investors buying up properties with the sole intention of listing them on Airbnb year round.

In an effort to stop that, Lehman added an amendment to the bill Tuesday that would limit the number of days someone could rent their home out in a short-term fashion to 180.

Carmel resident Shannon Minnaar said that exact situation is happening on her street and she and the homeowners association are not happy.

“Last weekend we had 6 cars lined up on the street where people couldn’t get out of their driveways because of the rental property," Minnaar said.

Minnaar said she feels the ammendment does not go far enough to protect homeowners and she will continue to fight the legislation.

This bill will now go to the house floor for further discussion.

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