KSL INVESTIGATES

Want to rent out your home for the NBA All-Star weekend? Here’s what you need to know

Feb 7, 2023, 11:06 PM | Updated: 11:07 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s no question about it — local businesses and hotel operators are very excited for all the money the NBA All-Star game is bringing to Salt Lake City for three days of big events.

“Every last hotel is booked in the downtown area, I mean, maybe in the entire city — the valley,” Roberta Reichgelt of the city’s Department of Economic Development told KSL.

People need a place to stay. And for those who’ve got a spare room or can even rent out their entire house, the Feb. 17 weekend could be pretty lucrative.

We found several short-term rentals available on Airbnb going for a premium. A close-to-downtown pad that normally rents out for $120 on weekend nights, is going for $180 that weekend. A Liberty Park area bungalow is going for double its normal weekend rate. We also found a downtown apartment just blocks away from Vivint Arena renting out for $1,025 during the All-Star weekend when it usually fetches $186 for the typical weekend night.

“There’s definitely going to be those who are very, very much going to try to cash in and try to get as much as they can from it,” said Aaron Kirkham, owner of Conmigo Vacation Rentals.

A Sugar House area rental managed by Kirkham’s company will see a 20% to 45% jump in its rate for the NBA All-Star weekend.

“Just depending on what we can book it out,” he said. “Further out, clearly prices raise, but then as we get closer, it drops down.”

Kirkham said hosts can charge more for big events, but they must follow local rules.

“The reality is, by doing things in any form, without associated permitting, without doing things right in the legal process, you open yourself up to the liability of the city coming in and saying, ‘Hey, you did this. You no longer can. Here’s the associated penalties,’” he explained.

Cities across Utah have started requiring permits for short-term rentals to cut down on parties and even violence. So, the KSL Investigators looked into regulations of every city within 25 miles of the Vivint Arena. In Salt Lake City, short-term rentals are allowed if you have a business license, but only in zones with hotels, motels or bed and breakfasts. No short-term rentals in West Jordan, Holladay, or residential areas in Taylorsville. But they are OK for some homes in Murray, Cottonwood Heights, West Valley City, Magna and Kearns, so long as you have a license or permit.

Kirkham said your best bet for clarity on the rules is to call local officials and ask for specifics: “Can you show me where it’s sourced in the code?”

Kirkham also warned new hosts need to really understand the policies of whatever hosting platform they are using.

“There are individuals who know the algorithms and know Airbnb very well, and they’ll find new hosts and they’ll take advantage of the policies that you don’t know about to be in their favor,” he said. “They’ll then report an issue, to which they’ll get their stay refunded, and you are stuck with not having a whole week of the NBA All-Star game or things like that.”

Other things to consider include: who will clean the place, will you always be available for when problems erupt, and going too cheap on furnishings, linens and such can cost you good reviews.

“If you put cheap things in your home, people will come in and say, ‘I don’t like these sheets.’ And so then there’s extra effort that goes into you having to mitigate and try to help that guest have a good experience because you’re focused on reviews,” Kirkham said. “The cheap ends up being expensive.”

Kirkham said it typically takes two to three weeks to get permits, so if you are thinking about opening your home to guests for the All-Star weekend, your shot clock may have already run out.

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Want to rent out your home for the NBA All-Star weekend? Here’s what you need to know