House bill

House Bill 563 passes out of committee

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A bill making it easier for landlords to rent their properties short-term is about to become law.

What do you want to know

  • A bill making it easier for landlords to rent out their properties short-term is set to become law
  • House Bill 563 limits how a city, township or municipality can regulate a short-term rental property, including outright prohibitions and length of use
  • Opponents fear bill will make tenants less liable

Proponents of the bill are thrilled because they want to limit government oversight of Airbnb and VRBO. Still, those against the bill said it would prevent a local government from governing itself.

The Ohio House State and Local Government Committee reported favorably on House Bill 563 on Tuesday. The bill limits how a city, township, or municipality can regulate short-term rental property, including outright prohibitions and simple and the duration of use.

“I think it’s a good thing for the community,” said Billy Fronimo, owner of The House Hotels, a short-term rental management company, in Cleveland for the past five years.

Fronimo testified in favor of the bill on Tuesday. He said protections like this for homeowners like him are vital to their livelihoods.

“People have invested a lot of money in properties to make them look good,” Fronimo said. “So if a city decides to put in a law that prohibits it, you know, those people are going to lose a lot of income that will help support their families.”

However, the bill raises concerns about local control.

Ken Scarrett, executive director of the Ohio Municipal League, said the transient nature of Airbnb and VRBO makes tenants less accountable, which is a real problem for people who live in residential neighborhoods where these types of companies generally exist.

“The biggest concern is that sometimes these rentals are on weekends, parties are held. There is a high volume of traffic in these certain [type of] homes,” Scarrett said.

Scarrett said these cases are causing disruption and more work for police and other emergency services.

“We’re not trying to kill the industry and we understand the value of these types of industries and this type of operation in our communities,” Scarrett said. “But we just want to have the powers and the law enforcement authorities to regulate and ensure neighborhood harmony.”

Rep. Ron Ferguson, R-Wintersville, one of the bill’s main sponsors, said local governments will still have the power to regulate short-term rentals if Bill 563 becomes law.

“If someone is a new nuisance, we have to hold them accountable,” Ferguson said. “You have no right to be a nuisance to another person. And so we have these orders in place. And what this bill does is make sure that a short-term rental is treated more fairly and much more like a long-term rental. And that’s what we really focus on.

Ferguson said it comes down to protecting what is often a person’s most important asset, which is their home, and how they use it to support themselves and their family.

He added that although he is a proponent of local control, local control never replaces the rights of an individual and it is an individual right.

As for House Bill 563, it now awaits a full House vote.