People who want to operate short-term rentals, often called Airbnbs, in Aspinwall have some new rules to follow.
Council unanimously voted Dec. 13 to pass an ordinance regulating such businesses catering to folks staying in town less than 30 days.
Rules state the proprietor must obtain a permit and live at, or within five miles, of the rental unit.
Rental property owners must carry all applicable insurances and will be subject to the borough’s $500 annual business privilege tax. Properties must also be inspected by the borough’s code officer.
Providing photographs of the property and a site plan showing dedicated parking spaces for guests and any outdoor amenities are also part of the application process, according to the ordinance.
Fines for ordinance violations range between $50 and $600.
Owners with three violations within a year may lose their permit.
The ordinance was posted on the borough website, aspinwallpa.com.
“It was necessary to put some guidelines around people that want to use their properties for short-term rentals, which they have every right to,” council President Tim McLaughlin said.
Borough officials worked on the ordinance for several months. They reviewed similar laws from other municipalities, including Sewickley, and made some tweaks to tailor the legislation to Aspinwall’s needs.
“We choose language, with clear and easy to understand requirements, with safety in mind for visitors, and with protections built in for the borough and for neighbors that live in proximity to the properties currently providing the service,” Councilwoman Patti McCaffrey said.
“Council was looking to be proactive before any more problems arose, and to avoid someone potentially getting harmed.”
McCaffrey said the ordinance development was an extensive process to make sure no stone was left unturned.
“I also reached out to owner’s living near the existing properties that appear on sites like Airbnb for feedback and received some complaints regarding noise, parking, and parties being held late into the night,” she said. “Many times, people stay and there are no problems whatsoever. But everyone I talked to welcomed getting some rules in place to keep it from becoming a problem in the future.”