December 9, 2017

Mommy, Why Is That Stranger Puking In The Bushes?

A weekend topic starting with the OB Rag in California. “Editor’s Note: The following is an interview with an fictitious Airbnb host. I’m sitting down with an Airbnb host to discuss the dollars and sense of short term vacation rentals (STVRs). These have been a hotly debated issue in San Diego, and our 9 city councilmembers are gearing up for a vote on December 12th on how to regulate it. Q: What’s to stop you from just buying and converting more properties?”

“A: Well I have a day job, this is just a side thing. It’s easy work though. Without a doubt I could do this full time and make a killing. The income covers a new mortgage right off the bat. I’d just buy more properties until it reaches saturation, if there is such a thing. Is Mission Beach saturated? Airbnb even asked me to host other people’s properties for them. The state of limbo at the city is probably the only thing really keeping more investors on the sidelines.”

“Q: You don’t seem like a fan… A: Well I guess I see both sides of it. I have them on 3 sides of my place now and another 2 doors up. The guy behind me is running one out of his garage, the one next door has one in his granny flat. I don’t even know if that’s legal. I mean it’s not a nuisance really, most of the guests are quiet. They’re terrible at parking. But mostly it’s just unsettling to play Mr. Rogers with a different neighbor every few days. I’ve had them come knocking on my door late at night because they can’t find the rental next door. The shear quantity of them is getting out of hand in my neighborhood and I don’t know where it ends.”

From Voices of Monterey Bay in California. “It’s all a-clash when tossed into the housing blender: short-term rentals and the local rental market and Airbnb and property rights and neighborhood tranquility and making a quick buck and vacation rentals and the cool new gig economy and community standards and surviving in this day and age and affordable housing and mommy, why is that stranger puking in the bushes at the house next door?”

“Jenny McAdams, a vocal opponent to the city’s policy, says she supports owner-occupied short-term rentals. But she contends the city is inept at managing the program and that more than 80 percent of the homes being rented to vacationers live outside Pacific Grove. McAdams has spent considerable time in research on the issue of vacation rentals in Pacific Grove. She’s developed a spreadsheet identifying each of the homes used for legal short-term rentals in the city. The database seems to show that most of the vacation rental owners live elsewhere.”

“‘To me the numbers say the City of Pacific Grove is a bunch of suckers,’ McAdams said. ‘Clearly investment groups and out of town investors are swooping up our neighborhoods, laughing their way to the bank, and throwing their TOT crumbs to the city.’”

From CBS Local 2 in California. “The Palm Desert City Council has voted to phase out short term rentals in single family neighborhoods with R1 and R2 designations by Dec. 31, 2019. The vote came after a marathon of public comment, council discussion and failed motions.”

“Both sides made arguments that home values in the city would drop if the opposition has regulations go their way. ‘They cannot sell their home because a serious buyer will not buy a home if they know that a short-term rental is nearby,’ said Christel Prokay, founder of Protect Palm Desert Neighborhoods Group. ‘The values will decline. I think that the short term rentals are essential to the concept of the city and the economic viability of the city,’ said Lesley Miller a short-term rental owner.”

From The Tennessean. “Airbnb has created a multibillion-dollar business by bending, circumventing, or even breaking the existing laws on transient housing in many communities. Their objective has been to blur the lines between transient and long-term housing. This has allowed Airbnb to create housing for tourists, without having to invest in real estate or management costs. It gives them a competitive advantage against the traditional lodging industry. In the process, they have made housing less available and less affordable in many cities across not only the United States, but the world.”

“We don’t allow other commercial businesses to operate in our residential neighborhoods. We don’t allow recording studios, beauty parlors, lawyers offices, massage therapists, or any similar business to operate in our residential neighborhoods. So why ‘mini-hotels’?”

From the CTV Toronto in Canada. “Politicians in Toronto will be scrutinizing proposed rules for short-term rentals this week that could spell major changes for those who offer secondary residences for rent on platforms like Airbnb. Among the raft of regulations going before city councillors is a rule that would ban short-term rentals of homes that aren’t the landlord’s primary dwelling.”

“Fairbnb, a coalition founded by a Toronto-area hospitality workers’ union to advocate for Airbnb legislation, says city hall must ensure that rental units are preserved for long-term renters, not vacation rentals. ‘We have no problem with the typical Airbnb host,” spokesman Thorben Wieditz said. “We have a problem with those people that lease or buy properties as investments and turn them into ‘ghost hotels.’”

“Ajay Joshi, who hosts five Toronto condo units on Airbnb, said the proposed regulations would create more business for hotels because fewer Airbnbs would be available, while causing financial hardship for short-term rental landlords like him. ‘Many people have made legal investments in buildings (that allow) short term rentals,’ said Joshi. ‘Their livelihood is at stake, along with heavy investments in down-payments, paid land transfer taxes and furnishings.’”