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Short-Term-Rental Regulations Roundup – Oct. 2021

lincoln city oregon beach vacation rental income
Lincoln City, Ore., Coastline

An Oregon county considers a near ban on STRs, and California’s governor signs new STR legislation in the wake of recent tragedy: Learn more about these and other short-term-rental regulation developments in our October Regulations Roundup.

Popular Oregon Coastal County Puts Anti-STR Measure On November Ballot

Unincorporated Lincoln County, Ore., is moving forward with new STR ordinance regulations, even as a measure effectively phasing out STRs looms on the November ballot. 

The new ordinance provisions, being considered this month, include tighter license caps and occupancy limits, and a ban on special events. Also included is a new proposal for dealing with neighbor complaints. Currently, a code enforcement officer must witness the violation first-hand, then cite the property owner through the circuit court. Under the new code, if the investigation shows “information, evidence and belief” for a complaint, the owner can be issued a citation to appear for an administrative hearing.

But none of these ordinance changes will matter if a measure on the county’s Nov. 2 ballot passes. If approved by voters in the popular Oregon-coast destination, Measure 21-203 would severely restrict short-term-rental occupancy, and, after five years, phase out most STRs altogether. Opponents of the measure say it could have a devastating impact on the county’s tax revenue, which averages $3.3 million annually from per-night tax on vacation rentals and hotel rooms. Legal liabilities are also at issue, including those under state State Measure 49, which can force local and state governments to compensate property owners for loss of fair market value. Get additional details on Lincoln County STR ordinance changes and the proposed ballot measure here.

After Sunnyvale Tragedy, California Authorizes Fines To Stop Party Houses

California governor Gavin Newsom has signed a proposal advanced by state senator Steve Glazer, D-Contra Costa, in the wake of a fatal shooting at an Airbnb rental in Sunnyvale, Calif., in August. Under SB 60, which took effect immediately upon signing, cities and counties can now impose fines of up to $5,000 on properties that violate local STR ordinances. The legislation is intended to crack down on rowdy, sometimes violent house parties that have made news headlines over the past 18 months. Read Senate Bill 60 in full, here.

Top Arizona Tourist Destination Hires Lobbyist To Push For STR Legislation

The Sedona City Council has voted to hire a lobbyist to help the city pass more comprehensive STR legislation. Though the city’s mayor opposed the hire, enough votes were cast in favor to push it through. Known for its eclectic arts community, New Age shops and towering red-rock buttes, Sedona has, in recent years, passed bills allowing short-term rentals and providing for taxation, 24-hour local contacts and occupancy limits. 

But residents who oppose short-term rentals say they bring trash, noise and other problems, and that local municipalities have little control over these problems. Part of the problem they cite is that while HOAs can theoretically ban vacation rentals, that’s only possible if the HOA has STR restrictions on the books, and if it can afford to hire an attorney to fight STR owners as needed. 

Local STR opponents claim that hiring a lobbyist proves the city council is trying to push more permissive STR permitting—resulting in more tax dollars in city coffers—under the guise of “regulation.” More information on the short-term-rental regulations conflict can be found here.

Hawaii Planning Commission Advances A Tough VR-Restriction Measure

The Honolulu County Planning Commission has just voted to advance vacation-rental restrictions in residential areas on the state’s most populous island. The draft legislation redefines “short-term rentals” as rentals of 180 days or fewer; previously it was 30 days or fewer. The new bill would prohibit almost all new STRs in residential areas. It would also tax owner-occupied B&B properties at the city’s B&B rate, while taxing non-owner-occupied whole-home rentals at the higher hotel and resort rate. And it would require STRs to maintain a minimum of $1 million in commercial general liability insurance at all times.

Already steep violation fines would also get much steeper, soaring from up to $10,000 per day to $25,000 per violation per day. Click here for more information on the proposed new Oahu STR legislation, which still must go through public hearings.

Natasha Garber covers short-term-rental industry trends, news, regulations and compliance for NoiseAware. Her posts on STR property management technology, privacy-safe noise monitoring, and licensing laws can be found weekly on the NoiseAware blog.