Ames City Council Meeting

Mayor John Haila talks about his thoughts on the issue involving the Ames Comprehensive Plan 2040 being discussed during the Ames City Council meeting on April 23.

Iowa legislators resolved the ongoing conversation concerning a rental cap in Ames, as Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill to ban municipal rental caps on Sunday.

The bill now in place stops cities, such as Ames, from establishing a rental cap on single-family homes and duplexes. This bill reverses a rental cap that was adopted last year in Ames for neighborhoods around the university, bringing criticism from officials and residents of Ames.

South Campus Area Neighborhood (SCAN) is a residential area for community members in Ames. It is located near the area known as “Greek Land,” and being home for students belonging to Iowa State, along with citizens not associated with the university. The motion that has passed impacts the laws involving home rental in this area, making it difficult for students to reside in the area.

A rental cap, voted on by the Ames City Council and passed last spring, limits the number of homes that can be rented out in specific neighborhoods throughout Ames. Homeowners are required to obtain a letter of compliance, allowing them to rent their homes despite the rental cap.

There are neighborhoods around the university that are 40 percent or more rental. This ratio proved itself effective when it came to selling and buying. If there is not a rental cap, it is seen that more houses are sold for rentals, versus being sold and owned.

Some individuals see the rental cap as discriminatory to their professions. Rental property owners and realtors oppose the gap, defending the free market.

While discussing the piece of legislation in a city council meeting in late April, Mayor John Haila expressed concerns on the passing of the bill.

“We have tried every non-effort, and letters are flying down to [Reynolds’] office to plead for her not to sign the legislation,” Haila said. “There’s no telling what Reynolds would do.”

Shannon Stack, resident in Ames and rental cap advocate, asked the council to take vacation homes and their owners more into consideration.

“Renting out my home is my life and my job,” Stack said. “I feel like we’ve been made into criminals, like we have to be monitored. I understand the rental cap is going to be gone, but I really don’t think it’s going to bring an influx of people to come here and buy homes to make vacation rentals.”

Stack also expressed how important vacation rental homes are due to the university and a lack of hotels.

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