September 16, 2019
“Becoming a homeowner is part of the American dream,” begins a recent Wall Street Journal commentary written by Masada Siegel. Siegel is completely correct: Owning a piece of property and doing with it as you choose has long been a goal on which Americans set their sights.
But the rest of her commentary, which places the blame on Arizona’s 2016 Home-sharing Act for failing to rein in noise, traffic, and other neighborhood nuisances related to short-term rentals, ignores the fact that cities still have—and have always had—the tools they need to deal with these problems. Over the weekend, Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur responded to Siegel’s commentary in a letter to the editor, explaining that “[c]ity hall, not Arizona’s home-sharing law, is to blame if nuisance ordinances are not enforced.”
As Sandefur writes, there are certainly instances when guests renting out homes do cause disturbances. But “[w]e don’t outlaw backyard barbecues just because people sometimes get rowdy.” Arizona’s home-sharing law prevents cities from banning home-sharing outright, but that doesn’t mean that homeowners have no recourse when guests at neighboring homes get out of hand. That’s what existing nuisance laws are for—extra layers of regulation simply aren’t needed.
For countless Americans, home-sharing is what makes their American dream possible. Home-sharing creates opportunities for homeowners to earn extra money—to pay their mortgages, or to make home repairs, or help invest in their communities. That is what the American dream is all about.
Read Sandefur’s full letter to the editor here.