By: Guest Opinion March 16, 2021
I took offense at Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Wilner’s attack on local short-term rentals in the March 5 issue of the Arizona Capitol Times. It is unfortunate that some of our civic leaders must resort to vague and exaggerated examples, which are extremely rare. They would have you believe that all vacation rentals are populated with gun-toting thugs. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I am a responsible owner of vacation rentals. My wife and I take great care to run ours conscientiously as good neighbors. Our patrons are not gun-toting drug dealers. They are usually multi-generational families or friendly groups coming to celebrate the highlights of life. Add golf, sunshine, shopping, dining, recreation and world-class events – it is no surprise so many come to visit Arizona.
Bien-Wilner’s article stated that “$400,000 in damages” occurred in the incident mentioned. How could he know that? That information could only come from the property owner, his protagonist in this case. How could he know that “many were on illicit drugs,” were there mass arrests? When did this occur – six months ago, nine months, 12 or more? I don’t believe it and neither should you.
There will always be a tiny minority of society bent on illegal activity. They exist in regular homes, long-term rentals, hotels and all other forms of housing. However, the mayor would have you believe it all occurs at vacation rental properties. Just not true.
Short-term rentals enhance and improve property values where they exist. Their owners are mostly local residents and small business people. If I put my property in an LLC it doesn’t mean I’m some big faceless corporation. I’m an Arizonan just like you, working hard to build a future and provide for my family.
Our civic and political leaders need to stop reaching for these hyper-emotionalized and exaggerated examples that occur in less than one-tenth of 1% of all vacation rental properties. They are not the norm, but the rare exception. Those of us in the business want them gone too, and are working hard to root them out each and every day.
Mark Beauvais is a Phoenix resident.