SLO council sets rules for vacation rentals

January 7, 2015

house for rentThe San Luis Obispo City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday that allows homeowners to place their houses on the vacation rental market if they comply with several regulations and pay permit fees and taxes.

In Nov. 2013, the council reversed city policy banning vacation rentals, or home stays, and directed staff to craft an ordinance regulating them. On Tuesday night, the council voted 4-1 in favor of the ordinance, with Councilman Dan Carpenter dissenting.

Carpenter said the ordinance is unnecessary and unenforceable.

The ordinance mandates that homeowners live in the homes that they are renting, obtain city permits and pay transient occupancy tax — each of which the city has required since Nov. 2013. But, city records indicate that only 36 of approximately 90 rentals listed on popular website are permitted.

Since Feb. 2014, the city has collected $30,988 in taxes from the owners of the 36 permitted vacation rentals. Permits, a separate expense, cost $305 each.

Permitting costs will remain the same under the new ordinance.

New regulations include a requirement for the homeowner or a representative to remain within a 15-minute drive of the property at all times the house is occupied by guests. The homeowner or representative must also be available by telephone, and neighbors will receive their contact information in case they wish to lodge complaints.

Other requirements in the ordinance include a limit of four guests per stay and a ban on visitors sleeping in guesthouses. Homeowners must additionally pay a Tourism Business Improvement District tax.

The city will enforce the ordinance on a complaint basis.

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Going from a no-rentals policy to allowing TAXED busy, noisy commercial rental ventures in quiet neighborhoods should be no surprise. It fits exactly with a council and PD chief who have never repudiated or reversed the years-old four page memo from the former police chief who wrote her council that enforcing existing laws against making motorcycles louder than factory standards (same as a Toyota Camry) was TOO COMPLEX for her and her officers.

The status quo now is ANY thug can install or remove ANY SORT of amplified or unbaffled sociopathic exhaust and shake ANY home, child or park with NO RISK of citation. A “little” pipe, or a frigging building rocker, ride away, SLO is an open season thug town. This is a disgraceful situation for a civilized town and county.

Until they earn their pay by squelching this pointless thug noise, perpetrated by a small percentage of our population against everyone else, they can screw up SLO and the County roads and neighborhoods all they want. Hide your trash cans, but we your council “can’t stop” the thugs who bolt on any vicious sound they desire.

The taxes and fees should go to the neighbors of these homes not to the city officials petty cash drawer.