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CARMEL, Ind.–Carmel is continuing to fight the Indiana General Assembly over legislation regarding AirBnB. 

In the 2018 legislative session, state lawmakers passed a law making it illegal for cities and towns in Indiana to ban homeowners from renting out their home for a short period on the website. Carmel is adhering to the law, but has strict regulations in place for Airbnb rentals.

The law placed a Jan. 1, 2018 deadline for cities to pass any ordinances regarding Airbnb rentals that could be grandfathered in once the law takes affect July 1, 2018. In an ordinance passed by Carmel city leaders before January 1st, 2018, the city is requiring homeowners to pay a one-time payment of $100 for a zoning variance to permit them to rent out their property on Airbnb.

“The ordinance sets up a procedure that cuts the cost for a variance in the case of Airbnb,” said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

An amendment added to the ordinance Jan. 8, 2018, a full week after the aforementioned deadline, says renters will be required to pay $50 a year to renew the variance. The annual fee listed in the amendment would be illegal according to the new state law. The law states cities cannot charge an annual fee to renew a short-term rental zoning variance. 

Supporters of the law say Carmel should not be allowed to charge the annual renewal fee since it was added to the ordinance after the Jan. 1, deadline.

However, Brainard argued the amendment is still valid because it is an amendment to an existing ordinance passed before the deadline. State law does allow cities to amend grandfathered zoning ordinances as in Carmel’s case.

“The deadline says that if you already have an ordinance about vacation rentals, you’re allowed to amendment,” Brainard said. “If you don’t you can’t pass it. Very simple. We could amend it five-years from now if we wanted to.

The new law takes affect July 1.