That loud party in Scottsdale may cost you up to $1,500 if proposed city rule passes


Two years after a state law limited cities from regulating short-term rentals, Scottsdale may crack down on parties that become a nuisance.

A proposed ordinance will hold property owners accountable for repeated unruly gatherings or parties on their properties — including short-term rental owners.

The ordinance says that police officers and other city staff have been repeatedly called to complaints of disturbances as a result of unruly parties.

The city looked to Tempe’s nuisance party ordinance as an example, according to Planning and Development director Raun Keagy.

“There definitely has been an increase in the number of complaints that we have been receiving regarding parties, noise, nuisance activities over the last two years,” Keagy said.What are the penalties?

Under the proposed new rule, Scottsdale police could charge the tenants or homeowners for unruly parties, although the first call would likely be a warning, Keagy said.

After that, officers could begin writing fines:

  • $250 for the first response.
  • $1,000 for the second response.
  • $1,500 for the third response and each subsequent response.

“If they come out a second or third time in the same night and things are really out of control, then yes, you may be subject to an actual citation under the ordinance,” Keagy said.

If a tenant or short-term renter is having a party and police are called, police will also notify property owners that they’ve had to visit their property, Keagy said.

In this instance, either party can be cited at the discretion of the police officer.

“What we’re trying to do is hold the property owners responsible for the activities that are taking place on their properties,” Keagy said.

How will this be enforced?

In April, Keagy said the city was having difficulty citing short-term rental homeowners for occupancy levels that were in violation of the city’s code.

“There are rights to privacy and against illegal search and seizure. It’s extremely difficult to prove,” Keagy said at the time. “If we get a complaint, we send them a compliance notice that they can only have six and usually they’ll change their advertisement.”

But the city referenced Tempe’s unruly party ordinance.

“They’ve been doing this for quite a while,” Keagy said. “That’s why we looked at them and thought this would be a good way for us to approach this.”

Paradise Valley also has an unruly-gathering ordinance that code-enforcement officers and police reference when called out to rental properties that are getting out of control, according to Dawn Marie Buckland, deputy town manager for Paradise Valley.

Scottsdale first began noticing a spike in complaints about noisy parties with 2015’s Super Bowl, Keagy says. Beyond that, complaints typically accompany the influx of out-of-state visitors that come the Valley with events like Barrett-Jackson and spring training.

In May, the state clarified its short-term rental law, including allowing cities and towns to prohibit gatherings like weddings at short-term rentals.

Keagy said the move made Scottsdale more comfortable that an unruly party ordinance would be enforceable across the board, whether for a short-term rental or otherwise.

“This is for everybody that’s out there,” Keagy said. “We’re not running afoul of the state law.”