New Airbnb laws in Alpine were introduced on January 19th. After a final review in February, hosts must comply with a number of operational standards and submit a special use permit application with a corresponding fee of $350 (cash, check, or money order payable to the City of Alpine). The full ordinance can be found on the City of Alpine website.
Checklist for Airbnb Laws in Alpine
Hosts must provide the following details to the city when submitting their permit application. City of Alpine Short-Term Rental Special Use Permit Application Checklist:
- A completed STR Registration Form.
- A copy of a property insurance summary that states STR coverage is included and/or complete insurance waiver. If the operator chooses to opt-out of property insurance a General Release of Liability MUST be signed by the operator.
- A letter describing the proposed STR use, describe whether the proposed STR will, or will not cause substantial harm to the value, use, or enjoyment of the other properties in the neighborhood. Also describe how the proposed STR will add to the value, use, or enjoyment of the other properties in the neighborhood.
- A sketch floor plan of the dwelling with dimensional room layout. Please identify sleeping areas, evacuation route(s), and location of fire extinguishers (note this!).
- Proof of STR property ownership such as property tax documents, deed, or copy of the title (all owners must sign the application).
Most cities are concerned with the negative effects of short-term rentals on their communities (i.e. quiet neighborhood homes turned into de facto hotels). With this in mind, Alpine requires hosts to describe how their short-term rental will better the community, such as an influx in business to local shops and restaurants.
Hosts must also provide the following details to guests upon booking:
- The 24-hour contact information of the STR owner or local representative
- Neighborhood info such as parking and noise restrictions, trash collection schedules, etc.
- Emergency and non-emergency telephone numbers for police and fire departments
- Instructions for obtaining severe weather, natural or man-made disaster alerts
Why do Airbnb laws often include an insurance requirement?
With the explosive growth of Airbnb and Vrbo properties over the last several years, hosts, city officials, and insurance agents are gradually becoming more educated about the unique risks of short-term rentals. What many now understand is the need for specialized insurance coverage for these properties.
When cities meet to determine Airbnb laws, an aspect that keeps surfacing is including a short-term rental insurance requirement, often including the city as additional insured. This ensures hosts and the city are adequately protected if they are named as a defendant in relation to bodily injury or property arising out of the short-term rentals in the city.
Ultimately a commercial general liability insurance requirement is good for owners and good for the city. It creates a barrier to entry that eliminates non-professionals and it comes with stricter insurance carrier underwriting requirements, which may include property inspections, smoke alarms in all bedrooms, fire extinguishers, and a generally higher level for the standard of care.
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