SLO to reconsider vacation rental ban

November 11, 2013

bedThe San Luis Obispo City Council will consider lifting a ban on vacation rentals during a special meeting Tuesday.

Since March, San Luis Obispo city staff have sent cease and desist letters to more than 50 homeowners who list their homes for rent on popular websites like

The vacation rental ordinance, crafted in the 1980s and revised in 2006, bans renting a home in San Luis Obispo for less than 30 days at a time. Homeowners who do not comply can face fines of up to $500 per violation.

A group of homeowners, known as SLO Hosts, is currently petitioning the city to amend the ordinance. The group is not requesting an overturn of the ordinance, but rather a provision allowing home stays.

Home stays are short-term rentals in which the homeowner lives in the residence and rents out a part of the house.

If the council chooses to allow home stays in the city, it may require homeowners operating them to pay for use permits, business licenses and annual inspections. Transient occupancy tax, or hotel tax, may also apply.

The city could raise approximately $45,000 annually, just from transient occupancy tax, if it allows home stays, according to the staff report.

Staff also suggest it will require a quarter-time position with a $25,000 annual salary to regulate the home stays.

The council will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. at city hall.


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SLO is the most regulated city in the US. All the city cares about is raising revenue, when they figure out how to tax these property owners everything will be ok.

Air B&B is great deal for everyone. Some longer term rentals with the owner not at premises would more likely be a problem for neighbors. The city should focus more on cleaning its own house. If the city denies this they should get an attorney like the one

that straightened out. the city of Atascadero on constutional issues.

Support Freedom:

Some of you have this all wrong. The typical short term rental guest is middle aged, respectful, mature and a delight to have around. The SLO Hosts group highly discourages any disruption to their neighborhoods by any guests.

Of course the most fundamental issue is our rights to do what we want if it does not affect our neighbors in any way. Next is the whore mongering by the city in demanding to know how much money it can make from these already tax paying citizens (and some of you seem overly concerned with that). We all pay taxes to have our city managed, why should a basic right be taxed even more. Do you know the city of SLO has rules where one can park their bicycle on their own property? Really!!!!!

The problems Cliffclaven has in LO are regrettable and I sympathize mightily. That seems to be a lack of communication initially, have you told the homeowner about your issues? Do. If that fails to get them to manage their affairs without bothering you then it would be cool to have a mechanism to handle that. Unfortunately common courtesy is in short supply these days and causes many problems in society. I know a few clicks and beeps at odd hours would not elicit a visit from LE but this ‘light weight’ but annoying nuisance issue is large and ought to get attention from someone.

Of course there are remedies for annoying neighbors that cannot be mentioned here.

DO NOT LIFT THE BAN! Neighbors have a right to peace and quiet. If the homeowners want to stay there, fine. But allowing potential rabblerousers to take over to make a profit is taking

the concepts of property rights way too far. Why not just let them dump their feces in the

front yard as well?

Wow! Where did you get the idea that these operations are going to attract “rabblerousers?” From everything I have heard they cater to an entirely different type of person and have minimal (if any) impact on the neighborhood. They are too short term, expensive and “controlled” for students which are more commonly the source of your concerns. If you were talking about someone renting out rooms to half a dozen different individuals or groups at a time, I could see your point — at least in terms of parking and traffic. However, most if not all of the people involved are talking about renting out from 1 to 3 rooms and generally to just one family/group at a time. I think they would be OK with some limitations on the numbers of guests and vehicles as a condition for approval.

I know it from Cayucos experience.

Most of what I have heard about problems in Cayucos from renting are from absentee owners who rent their places for days or weeks and do not live on site or even nearby. Plus even if those owners claim they can be contacted if there is a problem that sometimes is not the case. Wouldn’t any of this type of problem be solved if it is required owner be on site?

I always see Hell’s Angels and other rabble-rousing types staying in grandma’s spare room. They enjoy the doilies and extra-stuffed pillows. And who needs hard boozin’ when you have tea and coffee?

Yeah, B&B’s are a MAGNET for party-goers! I’ll bet they even kick over the lawn gnomes!

b&bs are not the issue, moron.

Just saw this discussion. I live in Los Osos and have a neighbor that’s running a web advertised “Air BNB” guest-room. It’s on one those quiet residential streets. The guests come and go at all hours, park where they please, and change a single-family a street into a commercial street. I really began noticing it after one set of guests kept repeatedly locking and unlocking their car with their key-fob resulting in a long stream of horn honks at 10pm.

I want to herd goats and geese in my yard, and offer semi-tractor air-horn musical training. Think that will be o.k.?

the problem is that many people are unpolished. just get their name and address and go visit them for breakfast

No way… let me get this straight… instead of going THROUGH the government with regulations and fines and fees, you are suggesting that we actually *SPEAK* to our neighbors?

That’s just silly, tom.

This is the key, the initial step. Our crumbling society has lost the ability to actually negotiate and communicate. I suggest that tomsquawk be lauded for his brief but eloquent solution. But then, if the neighbor is a lame brain or discourteous soul what to do? We are now in the twilight zone between no issue at all and full blown illegal disruption. I think the community ought to discuss this ‘no man’s land’ of life and see how we can address issues in that sector.

cliffclaven should not have to put up with those issues he outlined. The place on his block that is bringing these issues should be held to a higher standard than just nothing.

I am in full support of lifting the ill conceived and heartless ban, but with protections for neighbors. I know the whole group of SLO Hosts is in complete agreement. There are always bad apples and issues with anything but working together we ought to allow responsible freedom in this and clean up the few nuisances.

If your neighbor is on the up and up with this business, s/he should have a business license through the county–and part of obtaining this license would have involved input from neighbors. You can call the county and find out if your neighbor has all the proper permits and is paying taxes to the county on the business.

Staff has estimated that the annual tax revenues would be $45,000 based on a 13.6% occupancy rate and a daily average of $100. Based on a poll of hosts, we know the occupancy rate is almost 50%.

To illustrate this point, consider Santa Barbara:

Reported 2013 TOT from vacation rentals in Santa Barbara for the past year is: $711,000 from 159 properties, or $4471 per property.

Let us assume the average nightly rates in San Luis Obispo are 75% of those in Santa Barbara (a low estimate) and the occupancy rate we know is the same at 50%. With 79 local rentals, our properties would average $3353 per year. The TOT revenue would be over $265,000 or more than 5 times the report estimate. This dollar amount more than covers the associated enforcement/administrative costs and adds a significant amount directly into the city coffers.

If the cost for a short-term license is kept low and the penalty amounts high for violations, hosts will be more likely to comply and the cost for enforcement will become a non-issue.

…and even if they needed to hire additional enforcers, I’m sure someone’s brother or relative could use a job… they wouldn’t even need to go through the legally-required hassle of posting or public interviews, etc. Think of all the money they’d save giving that $100K+ job to one of their close, personal friends or relatives. We’re gonna be saving SOOOO much money!

This is a perfect example of whats wrong with government these days. If a private business landed this job/income, the first thing they would do is determine if it could be performed by existing staff, and if so they would pick a staff member that was competent enough to do the job at the lowest cost to the company to maximize profits.

Someone at the City has to have an extra 10 hours a week already. If not then hire a part time employee for $20/hour.

Unfortunately, government employees are not accountable to anyone for expenses.

sorry, it’s not about “what’s wrong with government these days”

this has been going on forever; feeding at the public trough.

Oh, I think Reagan summed it up best:

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Or even a current city employee with some time of their hands that can take the job without additional salary, but then again the public union would not permit that.

Does it surprise anyone that the city wants to hire another $100,000 employee plus benefits,, (1/4 of $100,00 = $25,000), I hope the residents think of this when they soon are asking to continue any taxes.

I guess this mans Jamie Irons has a son in law or someone who needs a no-cut, no-interview, nepotistic job? Just going on past Irons judgment, just a foreseeable event or presumption on my part…………………..

Or perhaps someone’s partner in an affair needs a job, wait we can thank Mr. Gibson for doing that already.

Why not both? The intelligence behind the salary estimate suggests a certain amount of inbreeding.

Way low on the 25% number, 40% or more, depending, for a middle class job with benefits public or private. 25% is close with insurance fund and social security deductions, no benefits (the ER’s still “free”, and very profitable, courtesy of the Republican benefactors of your tax dollars in the “health care” industry).

Staff suggests a $25,000 salary for 10 hours per week. That works out to $48 per hour. It seems to me that there are a whole bunch of people in the private sector with equal skills and responsibilities working for $15 per hour. Perhaps “staff” could use a dose of reality.

I wonder if that is the actual salary to the individual or the cost to the city to hire an employee for that position. Typically, a job with full benefits can cost the employer twice what the employee gets. Even so, $25/Hr. sounds like a somewhat cushier pay rate than I would think is necessary for that job.

Very good, Sarah! I have always advocated that public service pay scales should be based directly off of the average incomes. Not the minimum wage, but what the average private-sector employee makes. Management can have a multiplier (2x, 3x, etc) as needed and negotiated with public, tax-payer representatives, and the G-scale (or whatever local/state uses) would be based on typical incomes of the surrounding areas or state.

So if the average private sector employee makes $48,000/yr (just an easy number for example), then a city manager should make no more than 48K x 3 (or whatever), and staff should be x1, temp and other non-skilled, low-pay could even go down to x0.5 or whatever. We, as a society, could determine the multipliers, and what is fair.

Then, when things “boom” the public employees make more; when they “bust” they make less (terminations and new-hires will also have to be tied to the surrounding economy). Basically, the people MANAGING the fine, fee and taxation system would be directly tied to it’s performance.