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​Airbnb gets free rein in Arizona thanks to new law

While the home-rental site wages battles with lawmakers around the world, the Grand Canyon state welcomes the service with open arms.

New Arizona law doesn't put any limits on Airbnb rentals.

Regulators worldwide are tightening restrictions on Airbnb rentals, but Arizona lawmakers have taken a different, more lax approach.

On January 1, a new law went into effect that says zero restrictions will be put on the short-term home rental site, according to the Arizona Daily Sun. This means people can rent out as many properties as they like on Airbnb for as many days as they want per calendar year.

"Government regulation and outdated laws should not get in the way of people trying to earn an honest paycheck or block them from connecting to the products and services they want and need through the sharing economy," Torunn Sinclair, spokeswoman for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, wrote in an email.

Lawmakers and housing advocates around the globe have criticized Airbnb for reportedly contributing to higher rents and housing crunches. They say the home-rental site allows landlords to take units off the market and capitalize on short-term leasing.

The company has faced lawsuits and strict regulations in major cities, like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Barcelona and Paris. But some cities and states, like Arizona, are welcoming the service as a way for residents to make extra cash and bring in more tourists.

"For thousands of hard-working Arizonans, opening their home to out-of-state guests provides the financial breathing room they need to provide for their family," Sinclair said. "Anyone can be an entrepreneur in the home sharing business. This is a win-win for Arizona, its citizens and everyone who wants to come explore the Grand Canyon State."

Supporters of the new Arizona law say restrictions cannot be put on Airbnb rentals because these properties aren't classified as hotels. However, under the law, Airbnb is to collect local taxes for each rental.

"This new law ensures Arizonans can earn extra income to make ends meet by sharing their homes and leaves room for cities to craft rules that work for them," Laura Spanjian, Airbnb public policy manager, wrote in an email.

Over the past couple of months, Airbnb has been making nice with regulators. The company released a "Policy Tool Chest" in December to give lawmakers ideas on how to best regulate short-term rentals. Airbnb has also worked with cities like New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, London and Amsterdam on coming to agreements about short-term rental laws.

First published January 4, 11:50 p.m. PT.

Update, 1:06 p.m.: Adds comment from Airbnb Public Policy Manager Laura Spanjian.

Update, 4:38 p.m.: Adds comment from Torunn Sinclair, spokeswoman for Gov. Ducey.