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Friday, August 24, 2012

Court Upholds Ban on Short-Term Rentals

Property owners challenged a City ordinance that prohibited short-term rental of their property.   Prior to purchasing the property they intended as a second home, the owners reviewed the City Zoning Code and did not find any express prohibition against short-term rentals.  There was, however, an express ban on short-term rentals in a separate ordinance adopted in 2008.  The owners sued the City, claiming that the 2008 ordinance was invalid because the City filed it with the City Clerk rather than the County Recorder, as required by the Zoning Code.  As a result, the owners argued that they had no notice of the regulation as it was not contained in the Zoning Code and did not show up on their title search.  The Court ruled in favor of the City, finding that the recordation requirement was not mandatory, and that the short-term rental ordinance was valid.  Aamodt v. City of Norfolk.

While the Court did not invalidate the short-term rental ordinance for failure to follow the filing procedures, municipalities are encouraged to consistently follow local and statutory filing or recording procedures, where applicable.  This practice could prevent time-consuming and expensive litigation for the municipality, as well as put future property owners on notice of changes to zoning regulations that could affect their proposed use of property.

This case was recently reported on Patty Salkin's blog, Law of the Land and can be found here


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