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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This was never about neighborhood quality of life. It was straight-up about $$$. The hotel owners rattled the City’s cage to try and stop it. The City realized it was un-enforceable and decided we’ll take a 10% cut from whoever.

‘Tis great for the actual residents. In Los Osos, a neighbor has been doing the AB&B bit on the ‘sly’. Lots of comings and goings by the ‘guests’ at any and all hours. Best are those with the horn-beep door lock key fobs at 3am. A quaint idea for the cobblestone streets of Munich, but not so much for the SLO Co. neighbors paying rent or mortgage on a place to actually live.

Another “hope and change” decision. It is hoped that the City will be able to collect bed tax to boost their coffers. In fact, this does not happen very successfully. In Hawaii, where VRBO, Airbnb, and Rentalo have a huge presence in renting out houses and condos as vacation rentals, the government has been attempting to crack down on owners who DO NOT PAY THEIR COLLECTED TAXES. This is a major problem there and the Hawaii House and Senate have come up various solutions with only partial success since policing is so difficult; it is also a problem across the US. Think about it-if you, as an owner of a rental, collect an extra 10-13% from your guest, for many it is too tempting to not pass it on to the government, or to at least report only a part of it. Ask yourself- whatever your income is in your job, how would you like to give yourself an immediate 10-13% raise without any effort? Too tempting for many! And what has the City exchanged this for? Having to enforce people paying their correct amount of taxes that are due to the City (how in the world are they going to do that???) as well has increasing the traffic and parking problems in residential neighborhoods. I pity the poor homeowner who has his life savings invested in his home, living next door to a B and B with people constantly coming and going all hours of the night. Great for hammering property values. I know that this will elicit a response from those B and B owners proclaiming their virtue and honesty in paying all their taxes due as they have in the past-a familiar refrain.

Sure, once they get their fees then compliance is less costly to manage. Now how about fees for rentals? Has that compliance threshold been crossed and there are no enforcement dollars yet?

shhhhhh don’t give them any ideas

Government like the mafia needs to always “wet its beak”. This ordinance is no exception.

That was the extortionist ‘Black Hand’ you describe.

We know who took care of him.

Don Corleone

Dan Carpenter’s attitude is the only reasonable one. Regulation should be necessary, reasonable and enforceable. There have been almost zero complaints against short term rentals which obviates the first maxim of necessity. There is simply no need for any rules about these things since we have many rules governing our lives and styles already.

The power mad council (forcing inspections of rentals, whether long term or short-taxing everything and then throwing our money around like a drunken sailor) have lost credibility. I hope that aside from Dan most are thrown out at the next election.

I agree. There should be simple and enforceable taxes & fees – only to the extent that the existing hotel/motel industry (or long-term rental industry) have to abide by.

How in the world can anyone know if an owner or representative is within 15 minutes away? And what is that? Walking for 15 minutes or driving? During rush hour, when all the government slugs get off 30-45 min. before 5pm (when they clock out)?

This should be called the “Anti-flophouse Ordinance”.

You have no Freedom other than what the SLO City Government will grant you…..

Looks like Dan Carpenter is the only one in City Government that understand Freedom.

SLO is one of the most regulated cities in the nation. It is unsettling to me that people enjoy this kind of governmental interference in their lives.

Cradle to cradle government control is a must to live the much desired SLO life. At least hats what we’re led to believe.

The Government Problem :

The pint sized communist. That’s rich.

You got something against short people ?

Perfect example of an ad hominem attack. Can’t fault the argument? Use perjorative terms to attack the person presenting it.

For the record, I don’t have a lot of trust for Reich based on his past history in the Clinton administration. However, I saw nothing substantial in what he said here that is incorrect.

I agree with what the fun sized communist says in this article as well. All politicians are corrupt and beholden only to the money that puts them in office and gives them their perks.

What else is new?

And what does the midget have to do with a slo housing ordinance.

we have met the enemy and he is us

Pogo lives !

So much for being happy!