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Bill Protecting Airbnb Rentals Passes House, Goes to Governor

Bill would block local governments from using zoning laws to shut down short-term rentals

INDIANAPOLIS - Your city or county won't be allowed to block you from renting out your house through services like Airbnb, under a bill headed for Governor Holcomb.

The House has given final approval to a bill blocking cities or counties from requiring a zoning variance to rent out your house for a few nights. A city can still write you up for something like noise violations, but it can't use zoning ordinances to try to block Airbnb rentals entirely. The bill does allow cities to charge a one-time permit fee of up to 150 dollars. And zoning ordinances passed before this year stay on the books.

One of those ordinances is in Carmel, where attempts to limit Airbnb triggered the push for a state law last year. That version of the bill failed by one vote. Airbnb Midwestern policy director Laura Spanjian says the version Carmel finally settled on is workable. She says the state law gives much-needed certainty to Airbnb's four-thousand Indiana hosts that they won't be driven out of business by local governments. 

Spanjian says Airbnb lists Indianapolis as its top trending city in the U-S, and also has a significant presence in South Bend, Bloomington, Fort Wayne and Evansville.

If Holcomb signs the bill, it'll make Indiana the fourth state to shield short-term rentals from zoning requirements.

(Photo: Andrey Popov/Thinkstock)

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