Short-term Rental Policies, Rules and Regulations
Owners of a short-term residential rental property must obtain a business license prior to May 30, 2021, if they intend to continue operating as a short-term rental business.
Applications for a business license for this category must include the following:
- The name, address and phone number of the owner of the property or properties to be licensed.
- A list of all short-term residential rental addresses of any kind owned by said owner in the City of Hot Springs.
- The name, address and phone number of a local contact person responsible and able to respond to emergencies and complaints for the property.
The initial application fee and subsequent annual business and occupation tax, per short-term residential rental business address, shall be $50 per bed within any such property or properties to be licensed.
Business license applications are available online at https://www.cityhs.net/City-Business-License-Application. Completed applications should be submitted to the City of Hot Springs, Finance Department, 324 Malvern Avenue, 2nd Floor, Hot Springs, Arkansas 71901. For more information, call 501-321-6826 or email email@example.com.
At the March 2, 2021 meeting of the City’s Board of Directors, Ordinance No. 6375 was adopted and put into effect immediately. It states that any “Short-Term Residential Rental Business,” defined as the renting, leasing or otherwise furnishing of a house, cabin, condominium, apartment and/or other similar rental accommodations within the City for periods of less than 30 days, must obtain a business license under this new category.
Pursuant to Ordinance No. 6375, no applications for this category will be accepted from May 30, 2021, through October 13, 2021. This abeyance period is intended to be used to study and consider warranted policies, rules and regulations, if any, that the Board finds to be needed in this area. The Board is cognizant of the potential impact that such an abeyance could have on this industry, and therefore, has directed the City Manager and City Attorney to diligently begin the process without delay.
At the May 18, 2021, meeting of the City's Board of Directors, Ordinance No. O-21-26 was passed. It establishes policies, rules and regulations for short-term residential rental businesses (STRs) within Hot Springs and will takes effect on June 1, 2021.
There has been an increase in privately-owned residential dwellings being used as STRs in Hot Springs, which has been beneficial to the city by expanding the number and type of lodging facilities and by providing increased revenue. However, having these businesses unregulated introduces the possibility of adverse consequences, such as a reduction in affordable housing and quality of life impacts on residential neighborhoods.
This ordinance facilitates economic growth while promoting neighborhood compatibility and protecting the health, safety and welfare of residents and visitors. It comes after the Board heard testimony from the public on March 2, 2021, and adopted Ordinance No. 6375, requiring a business license be obtained for STRs by May 30. A public forum was convened by the Board on March 23 for the purpose of hearing from owners and operators of STRs, as well as residents of Hot Springs. Comments were also received electronically. Five work sessions were held by the Board to consider public input and review and discuss the ordinance draft.
The following guidelines are included in the ordinance:
- A business license is to be obtained annually, due on Jan. 1, for each STR property; an inspection must precede obtainment of each initial license, and a conditional-use permit is required for STRs within residential zones
- The maximum number of STRs within residential zones is 700 per calendar year
- STRs must comply with the Hot Springs Solid Waste Ordinance and City codes that regulate unlawful noises; they must also be maintained in a manner consistent with the character of the neighborhood
- STRs must have a local property manager who will be on-call at all times and can be on-site within 60 minutes to respond reported issues
- The maximum number of occupants for STRs shall not exceed two per bedroom, plus two
- Off-street parking shall be made available, per HSC 16-2-103 through HSC 16-2-104
Listening Session held on March 23
On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, the City of Hot Springs hosted a listening session to gather input on possible policies, rules and regulations regarding short-term residential rental businesses.
The main objective of the listening session was to receive public comment and input on short term rentals within the City of Hot Springs.
Each speaker was allowed three minutes to present comments on the topic of short-term rental housing Written comments were also accepted through Wednesday, March 24, from the public on the issue.