Drive through Carmel and you might pass a short-term rental such as HomeAway, VRBO or Airbnb.
David McGuire, who was walking in Downtown Carmel on Wednesday, said “I have friends that rented out their homes, made pretty good money and never had any complaints.”
But, there apparently were some complaints coming to Carmel City Council member Jeff Worrell.
Worrell, who represents the city’s southeast district, said, “I know in my district, I had several situations where people were renting out their home for a weekend, for a bachelor party or wedding parties. There were people coming and going. It was causing problems, so we had to address it.”
That’s why city leaders passed an ordinance in January that puts rules on those short-term rentals outside of certain dates.
Worrell said, “So, there’s some oversight, some permitting that occurs, giving their neighbors the opportunity to express concerns.”
Now, state government’s involved. Recently, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law that basically says, as an owner, you can rent your primary home on a short-term rental platform.
Jill Hudson, who was in Downtown Carmel on Wednesday, said, “I think that’s absolutely right.”
David McGuire added, “If people want to rent out their home, they should be able to.”
Carmel city leaders disagree with the new state law.
Worrell said, “One law by the state of Indiana for all municipalities in the state seems to me to be an overreach and definitely we view that as a trampling on home rule.”
The council member added, “In this case, this law, I think is bad law because it takes away local ability to manage that and to understand the needs of residents.”
So what happens to Carmel’s ordinance?
Worrell said the city’s legal team advised them the city should be grandfathered into the new state law because of when and how the ordinance was passed. The city is operating under the assumption that it will be grandfathered in.
Ian Harley, who owns a home in Carmel and has it listed on Airbnb said Wednesday, “Owning a townhome in Carmel and using AirBNB allows me to have a civilized place to live while I work in my business employing 10. I can travel home to see my family at weekends or occasionally they join me in Carmel. I strongly object to local rules restricting short term rentals. I also enjoy using AirBNB when I travel with my family it is great to be part of a local community rather than a “tourist” in a hotel and seems like a good way to share the resources of a city.”
The author of the new law was State Rep. Matt Lehman, a Republican from Berne. He did not respond to a request for comment.