City of Carmel
One Civic Square, Carmel, IN 46032
Date: Jan 17, 2017
Contact: Nancy Heck (317) 571-2474
Carmel Addresses use of Homes for ‘Airbnb’ rentals
CARMEL, IN – In response to an increase in the number of homes listed on various “Airbnb” websites, offering overnight accommodations for travelers, has prompted the City of Carmel to send letters (attached) to homeowners alerting them that they are in violation of city zoning laws and that they have 10 days to cease operations or file for a zoning variance.
City officials have received a number of complaints from local residents, Homeowners Associations and representatives of local hotels about the issue, prompting today’s action. The letters were mailed by the City’s Department of Community Services, which oversees planning and zoning matters.
“Although we share in the excitement and appreciation of the many new ways in which we can connect with each other globally and do business by using modern technology for travel and entertainment purposes, we must also be sensitive to the impact these new things are having on our community – including your neighbors and our local businesses,” the letter states. “Businesses such as our local hotels must invest a lot of money to meet the requirements of their zoning and be able to legally operate as a hotel. Because of that, we don’t believe it is fair to our hotels to allow someone to operate a competing business when they are not held to that same higher standard of construction because of their zoning classification.”
Homes located in a “Residential Single Family” zoned area must be used as a single residence, not as a business. Homeowners are not able to “suddenly turn it into a restaurant, a dry-cleaning business, factory or – as is apparently the case now – a hotel or bed-and-breakfast.”
Doing so would be unfair to neighbors and local businesses and would be contrary to the community’s zoning laws. The letter explains the legal process in which a homeowner can ask for a legal zoning variance to allow for a different use.
The city has now notified homeowners that they must cease operation as a commercial user – including the removal of their home from any websites advertising such things – within the next 10 days in order to avoid any further action by a Code Enforcement Inspector, until such time that a homeowner obtains a zoning change or legal variance.
If residents of Carmel suspect such activity is taking place in their neighborhood, they should report it to the City of Carmel, Department of Community Services by calling 317-571-2417.