SLO battling against room rentals

August 15, 2013

bedSan Luis Obispo city staff sent cease and desist letters to more than 50 home owners who list rooms in their homes for rent on Airbnb.

Airbnb is a popular website where people go to rent rooms in 192 countries for a variety of prices. There are currently 27 hosts in San Luis Obispo with the average homeowner making $751 a month through the site, according to Airbnb.

Just a few weeks ago, there were more than 50 San Luis Obispo locations listed. That was before the city sent letters to homeowners listed on the site giving them until August 12 to remove themselves from Airbnb or face fines.

A city ordinance requires that homeowners rent rooms for at least 30 days at a time.


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Why is anyone surprised that this is happening? AirBnB is revolutionizing vacations. We went to Hawaii last May and scored a great room in a private home on K’auai for $85 a night. $85! BUt that’s money not going to local hotels and taxes not going to local cities. AirBnB is now worldwide. People should be able to open up their rooms/apartments/houses, but they also need to pay the taxes.

But just which taxes does the homeowner “need” to pay, Dave? That’s a big can of worms to open…

Let’s see…a SLO homeowner wants to rent out a room for 4 days to a family from NY. Is that technically a business? Should the guy now have to pay a yearly business license fee? What about file a SE (self employment) with his 1040? Should his kitchen be inspected by the health dept? Should he pay a business rate for his phone service?

This same SLO resident “employs” his wife & kids to clean up the place so does he also need to worry about payroll tax, state income tax, federal income tax, etc? What about paying a hotel occupancy tax to SLO city? (That’s all this crack-down is about, anyway…$$$)

It’s a slippery slope, Dave. You enjoyed your $85 room in Hawaii and I’m guessing the folks you paid did not report that income OR pay taxes on it. And I’m just fine with that.

SLO residents: don’t you dare feed those ducks at Laguna Lake, don’t light up a cigar after farmer’s market, don’t leave your trash cans out where someone may see them, don’t allow drive-thru places, and don’t rent out a room for 2 nights to a vacationing family from back East. But DO keep spouting off how you’re the “happiest place in the USA.” Over-taxed, over-regulated, stuffy and intrusive…but “happy.”

You forgot the added bonus of our glorious supreme leaders: Hill, Gibson, Marx, etc.

Anyone watch “Breaking Bad” ? Temporary, short term meth labs ? It’s going on.

Just wait until your absentee neighbor’s house in your toni neighborhood blows up in the middle of the night.

Then, all of you stuck up morons will be SCREAMING for regulation !

You watch too much TV.

As they say, garbage in… garbage out.

Ooooh …witty rejoinder !

As Gore Vidal said, “The four most wonderful words in the English language are ‘I told you so !’ “.

All I have to do is wait.

This the city with a creeks full of s**t and broken glass, this the city where questionable employees keep their jobs, this the city that allows illegal additions and conversions if you’re the right person and just tell them you “bought it that way”. Well, at least they found something they’re capable of doing.

I wish the city would work as hard on getting their spending under control. I can only wonder how long it will take before the city submerges under the weight of its unfunded pension obligations??

At what point will reality finally sink in?

I wonder how the city would they feel about rentals if they had a tax on it?

They do have a tax on it, transient occupancy tax (“hotel tax”) or TOT. The non-payment of aforementioned tax may be part of the issue. The crackdown could be a result of pressure from hotel/motel owners losing business, the city losing TOT revenue, or neighborhood complaints. I would hope the latter was the case given the city’s intense interest, but I doubt it. I can’t see a reason for neighbor complaints as there is no restriction on renting rooms to someone by the month, Cuesta student with monster truck, maybe a couple of meth-heads that scare the bejezzus out of the neighbors. Initially there were membership sites where accommodation was offered for free based on the idea of a large exchange. Someone could get a cheap trip along the west coast staying at your house for a night or two and you’d be able to inexpensively travel the east coast staying at places like yours in return.

Actually, the issue is that vacation rentals are illegal in the city. And, yes, there are good reasons for that. Who wants a party house next door, occupied by different people every night? That’s what a lot of these places become, complete with outdoor hot tubs to annoy the heck out of the neighbors all night long. Thank goodness they are finally doing this long-overdue enforcement.

Of course, anybody can rent to somebody who actually lives in their spare room — there’s no issue there. The issue is the nightly rentals.

Wait! I thought SLO was considered one of the happiest small towns in the country. So you want to take the “happy” out of someone who rents a house in SLO for a week and wants to kick back now and then. How “happy” is that? Maybe we should look at SLO again. It could be the most unfriendly small town in America if they restrict our happy times.

Government for the people?