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Carmel Sends Letter Asking Residents To Stop Short-Term Rentals

The city of Carmel's building commissioner sent a letter to some residents Tuesday saying they have ten days to stop advertising their homes as short-term rentals on popular websites like Airbnb and VRBO. The letter says doing so violates local zoning requirements.

Building Commissioner Jim Blanchard says in the letter businesses spend a large amount of money to comply with the city's laws.

"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," Blanchard writes.

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The letter says homeowners can request zoning variances to allow their homes to be used as rental properties, but they must be approved by the city. If homeowners don't comply with the city's orders, the letter says Carmel could take further action through it's code enforcement office.

The City of Bloomington is also considering regulating short-term rental properties. City officials held a meeting with short-term rental owners last year to discuss the idea of requiring special permits for the properties. The city hasn't decided how to move forward.

A state legislator is proposing a bill that would prevent Indiana cities from banning short-term rentals.

Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, says the bill wouldn't take away control from local governments.

According to the bill, cities and towns in the state could still impose laws regulating public safety and sanitation if "enforcement does not prohibit the use of a property as a short term rental."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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